In January 1989, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) required that the nation's major airports install systems for controlling access to high-security areas where large passenger aircraft are located. These systems are eligible for funding under FAA's Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Airports and airlines have complained that FAA greatly underestimated the costs of access control systems. The General Accounting Office (GAO) was requested to (1) determine how much access control systems have and will cost and (2) identify what actions FAA could take to help ensure that systems are cost-effective in the future. Briefly, GAO found the following: The variety of systems--mostly computer-controlled--installed at airports to meet FAA's access control requirements cost far more than FAA anticipated. Updated data provided by FAA show that from 1989 through 1998, the actual and projected costs for systems at the 258 airports subject to FAA's requirements will total about $654 million in 1993 constant dollars--over three times FAA's initial estimate for that period. This amount includes $327 million in AIP funds, or 50% of total costs. Furthermore, on the basis of updated data, FAA projects that systems will cost an additional $219 million in 1999 through 2003, half of which would be federally funded. FAA officials stated that the agency's initial cost estimate was low primarily because more access points were secured and more expensive equipment was installed than the agency anticipated in its analysis. Although most airports have completed the installation of access control systems, they will need to modernize these systems as equipment wears out, additional equipment is needed, or equipment or software no longer has the capacity to meet security-related demands. FAA can help ensure that system modernization is cost-effective by (1) providing detailed guidance explaining where equipment should be located and (2) working with the industry to develop and implement standards that provide technical criteria explaining how systems should function to meet access control requirements. FAA and the industry have several initiatives under way that provide opportunities to help ensure that systems are cost-effective. These initiatives include FAA's reviewing access control requirements and working with the industry to develop standards. Recommendations are offered to assist these efforts.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices;
  • Pagination: 26 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00676459
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/RCED-95-25
  • Files: NTL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 31 1995 12:00AM