Monday, November 22nd, 2010 - 14:22
“Our mission is quite simply to provide
the safest air transportation in the world.
We do this extraordinarily well. We are
running record low accident rates.”
On a daily basis, 8,000 commercial and 18,000 private aircraft operate close to 50,000 flights per day in U.S. airspace. Doing this safely and efficiently involves the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA ) maintaining the world’s largest air navigation and communications infrastructure, which relies significantly on advances in information technology (IT ). “Our mission,” says Dave Bowen, Assistant Administrator for Information Services and chief information officer (CIO) at the FAA , “is quite simply to provide the safest air transportation in the world. We do this extraordinarily well. We are running record low accident rates and we continue to work to bring down those rates.” Bowen explains that the FAA basically regulates everything flying in a chunk of airspace covering 15 percent of the world’s surface area. “We operate in 24 million square miles of airspace, including the Continental United States, Alaska, about halfway over the Atlantic, and another 15 million square miles of airspace over almost the entire Pacific Ocean.” The agency does this with an annual budget of about $16 billion, along with 43,000 employees and another 30,000 contractors.