FAA’s Modernization Program: Clear Skies, or Still In Heavy Turbulence?

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) program, which started ten years ago at an estimated cost of $2.1 billion, was scheduled to go into full operations last year. However, the modernization effort ran into major software and system difficulties (pdf) as outlined by the Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel in late 2010. To address the myriad of problems, the FAA decided by early 2011 to add another US $300 million and three years to the modernization effort. This amount, and schedule, change was at the low end of the range the IG said the effort might take; Scovel estimated it might need three additional years and another $200 million more than what the FAA predicted. [read more..]