FAA’s NextGen Hits Turbulence
The FAA faces significant challenges in achieving the vision of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), government and industry panelists told the House aviation subcommittee last month. Prominent among challenges is the $2.1 billion En Route Automation Modernization (Eram) program to replace the computer system connecting 20 FAA air route traffic control centers. After encountering problems at initial sites in Seattle and Salt Lake City, the FAA plans to complete Eram deployment four years late–in 2014–at an additional cost of $330 million. DOT Inspector General Calvin Scovel III warned that ongoing issues with Eram could affect interdependent NextGen programs, including automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), data communications (DataComm) and System Wide Information Management (Swim), which represent three of six NextGen “transformational” programs.