Inefficient air traffic control (ATC) towers at both hub and non-hub airports in the US have wasted $853m of the government’s money between 2008 and 2013, an audit by the Transportation Department’s Inspector General has revealed.
The audit report claimed that the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) stand-alone ATC towers at hub and non-hub airports functioned at different levels of efficiencies.
While the watchdog found more than 50% of the towers to be efficient in some years during the audit, there was a substantial gap between their performance and that of the less efficient towers.
The least efficient towers are said to have used between 42% and 98% more resources than those of relatively efficient towers.
The report said: "We estimated the additional costs from all relatively inefficient towers to average $142m annually from fiscal years 2008 through 2013, for a total of $853m.
"The inefficiencies associated with the ten least efficient hub ATC towers alone were estimated to account for 57%, on average, of this amount."
The additional costs were said to be the result of the least efficient towers using more labour hours and equipment for handling each operation and preparing each trainee, than the other efficient towers.
The watchdog has instructed FAA to identify the factors that are leading to the use of more resources, and devise a plan to address the same.
The audit results come at a time when the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is exploring the feasibility of privatising FAA’s air-traffic system with the aim of providing more stable industry funding, reported Bloomberg.
Pennsylvania Republican Bill Shuster said that he would include the proposal in legislation this year.