For Immediate Release

August 30, 2004

Automated Flight Service Stations and Air Traffic Control Towers perform different functions.

Automated Flight Service Stations Air Traffic Control Towers
  • Do no separate aircraft
  • Provide weather briefings and flight planning services
  • Issue and cancel Notices to Airmen
  • Separate and control aircraft during takeoffs, landings, and while airborne
  • Separate aircraft on the runway from potential obstructions

Competitive Sourcing is not privatization. These initiatives have different outcomes.

Automated Flight Service Stations Air Traffic Control Towers
  • Government employees compete and can submit an offer as the Most Efficient Organization (the MEO) with a contractor or partner
  • Government maintains oversight of service and responsibility for certification.
  • Government enforces quality assurance
  • Government divests itself of service
  • Government divests itself of real property in relationship to the service and function
  • Government relinquishes oversight
  • Government becomes the customer

The outcome of this competition will enhance safety.

  • Capital for upgrades to facilities and equipment will be available
  • Staffing will become better balanced, locating staff where they are most needed
  • Technology will be upgraded
  • Facilities will be modernized for the benefit of users and employees
  • The FAA will continue oversight of stations and continue to certify employees

The contract will be awarded on the basis of a best value assessment.

  • FAA has prescribed safety requirements for service providers
  • Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of technical and cost considerations
  • Technical considerations are more important than cost
  • Evaluations will consider best value

The FAA cannot afford to maintain and upgrade all 58 stations operating today.

  • The Aviation Trust Fund, which accounts for 85% of the FAA's annual budget is decreasing due to lower ticket prices and other decreasing tax revenues
  • 54% of the 2,500 Automated Flight Service Station employees are eligible to retire, leading to an increase in costs for recruitment and training
  • Cost to maintain the 58 stations is $502 million each year and rising
  • Automated Flight Service Stations need huge capital outlay to maintain and improve facilities and operations
  • $1 per year facility leases at some stations are set to expire and will need to be renegotiated at market values which can cost over $10 million dollars
  • Cost per request for service by a pilot averages $25 per call
  • The Airline Owners and Pilots Association recognizes that the $60 million in fuel taxes collected from general aviation cannot offset the hundreds of millions it costs to operate these stations annually

Employees will benefit from safeguards no matter who wins.

  • Employees will have modernized facilities and equipment
  • Better employee staffing levels will better serve customers and improve conditions for employees
  • Solicitation requirements will maintain wages in line with current levels
  • Service Contract Act will protect wages at levels consistent with their locations
  • Employees will have the Right of First Refusal if an outside contractor wins the award
  • Those eligible to retire may begin second careers with contractors because the age 56 mandatory retirement rule does not apply to the private sector

The FAA will benefit through this competition as will the taxpayer and users.

  • Competitive Sourcing presents an opportunity to modernize Automated Flight Service Stations
  • The FAA requires a minimum savings of 22% annually, about $478 million
  • Savings to taxpayers could be 30% annually which is the historical average for this kind of competition
  • Subsequent savings will be $95.7 million annually