Flight International online news 09:00GMT: A US Government watchdog has warned the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Organization will produce a $4 billion budget deficit by 2010 if its does not implement stringent cost cutting measures.

The Government Accountability Office study also says the regulator’s access to funds from airport taxes could end if current budgetary problems persist.

Dating back to 1997 numerous reports have highlighted the need for the FAA to better control the growth in its operating costs, 80% or $6.5 billion of which is spent on managing the USA’s air traffic system.

The GAO says current measures adopted to cut costs are failing and recommends the ATO consider long term, cost-saving measures such as consolidating facilities, replacing outdated costly equipment, and investing in new technology to increase work force productivity.

However, this creates a dilemma for the ATO. The FAA department, created just over one year ago, is tasked with meeting multibillion dollar financial shortfalls, but also has a remit to overhaul an aging air transport system that requires expensive technological upgrades as well as new working practices.

GAO’s call for greater efficiencies in the management of the USA’s air traffic system comes as a separate report by Airports Council International-North America forecasts a need for $71.5 billion in capital development costs for US airports between 2005 and 2009, almost double the $39.5 billion estimated by the FAA.


Source: Flight International