FAA concedes to IG report, creates new plan for ITWS

FAA concedes to IG report, creates new plan for ITWS

When the Transportation Department's inspector general issued a report late last month criticizing the Federal Aviation Administration for mismanagement of its Integrated Terminal Weather System project, the agency didn't argue.

'We generally agree with all the report recommendations,' FAA spokeswoman Rebecca Trexler said.

A lack of funding and an increase in costs delayed deployment of ITWS equipment, she said.

The IG's report said FAA had been off the mark on cost projections for the project, and thus off schedule. The report said it would take FAA another five years to finish the integration of the weather system.

The first ITWS production system had been scheduled to be fully operational by the end of December. The agency now expects integration to begin this spring, with the last of 38 airports receiving its system in 'mid- to late-fiscal 2008,' Trexler said.

The agency said ITWS systems have already been installed at four support locations and two operational sites, in Atlanta and Miami. Six systems are scheduled to be installed in Kansas City, Kan., Houston, St. Louis, Chicago, the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore, Md. region, and New York by the end of this fiscal year.

ITWS integrates data from multiple sensors into a single display. The system presents a 20-minute forecast of weather conditions in the terminal area and helps traffic managers use airport and airspace capacity more efficiently.

In January 1997, FAA awarded a contract to the Raytheon Co. of Lexington, Mass., to develop and implement ITWS. FAA had plans to invest $286.1 million through fiscal 2008 to acquire and integrate ITWS to the 38 locations that will support 108 air traffic control towers, terminal approach control facilities, en route centers and support facilities.

This amount also included funding through fiscal 2009 for planned system enhancements such as hardware and software upgrades. FAA had committed $179.1 million through fiscal 2002.

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