The Transportation Department’s inspector general launched an audit in May of the FAA’s transition of Flight Service Station services to Lockheed Martin.
Last February, the FAA awarded a five-year contract, with another five-year option, to Lockheed Martin to operate 58 FSS. The company plans to consolidate those stations into 20 facilities. At the time, the FAA anticipated that the outsourcing would save $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. However, now FAA officials say the contract will save just $1.7 billion.
“The objectives of the audit are to assess whether FAA has implemented effective plans and controls to (1) transition flight service stations to contract operations, (2) achieve anticipated savings, and (3) ensure that the operational needs of users continue to be met,” said David Dobbs, assistant inspector general for aviation and special program audits, in a memorandum.
According to a spokesman in the IG’s office, the review was initiated because of the program’s importance to the FAA, the discrepancy in anticipated savings and the FAA’s limited experience with outsourcing. While there has been congressional interest in the contract, the audit was not requested by legislators, the spokesman said.
The audit will be conducted by reviewing records, interviewing FAA officials, as well as Lockheed Martin executives, visiting FSS and talking with GA pilots.