New FAA systems will map problem areas in air traffic control

The Federal Aviation Administration is developing agencywide information systems that will provide officials a nationwide view of air traffic maintenance and management issues and enable them to pinpoint failures quickly and easily.

Felix Enriquez, manager of the national operations division at FAA, said the new FAA systems will enable administrators to better manage the significant increase in air traffic being fueled by companies that are wrestling with an exponential growth in Internet-based overnight delivery orders.

Some of the systems already have been installed at the National Operational Control Center at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C. The systems give FAA officials a picture of every action, problem and failure as it happens and enables them to coordinate a response almost instantly, Enriquez said. However, he did not provide details on the particular types of hardware and software involved in the project or the number of systems involved.

The FAA's air traffic control architecture operates under several sectors or "silos" across the country, each of which has its own systems with little ability to communicate between sectors, Enriquez said. The new systems allow much better coordination across the country because the people at the NOCC can see and react to incidents and information coming in from every silo, he said.

FAA also is developing a World Wide Web site that will enable commercial and private users of the national air space to get detailed updates and changes that are made to the FAA infrastructure. This information is so vital to companies that the agency now holds three teleconferences on the subject each day, Enriquez said.

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