FAA names modernization leader

The director of the Federal Aviation Administration's Free Flight Office will oversee the implementation of the agency's 10-year modernization plan, the FAA announced June 21.

Charlie Keegan will lead efforts outlined in the FAA's Operational Evolution Plan (OEP), a blueprint that brings together many information technology and other initiatives to accommodate increased demands on the National Airspace System. Implementing the OEP should boost NAS capacity by 30 percent, according to the FAA.

Keegan has been director of the Free Flight Office since its creation in October 1998.

The OEP was developed with input from members of the aviation community, including air traffic controllers, airlines, manufacturers and pilots. It lays out a detailed timetable for implementing more than 50 initiatives. Keegan's job will be to ensure that those initiatives are completed.

"Charlie's exceptional success in leading Free Flight certainly qualifies him to take on greater responsibility in implementing the OEP," FAA Administrator Jane Garvey said in a news release. "He has built an extremely effective relationship with key parts of the aviation industry and with the FAA's main labor organizations."

Free Flight is the FAA' wide-ranging effort to offer pilots and controllers more choice in selecting flight paths, thus reducing flight times, saving money and providing for more flights. Free Flight Phase 1, which involves five sets of IT tools, is scheduled to have core capabilities deployed by the end of 2002. Phase 2 will build on Phase 1's successes during 2003 through 2005.

Keegan, a 22-year FAA employee and former air traffic controller, was director of the Air Traffic Systems Requirements Service before heading the Free Flight Office. Free Flight deputy director Robert Voss will take over as director.

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