Report: Four ATC Sites Need Immediate Upgrade

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The FAA needs to "move forward expeditiously" to replace aging air traffic control systems, especially at major sites where aging displays are "experiencing significant reliability problems," a report by the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General said this week. The report reviews the FAA's Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) program. The condition of aging displays at Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis and St. Louis "has become critical," the report says. The aging displays limit any further software enhancements to controller workstations, including safety improvements recommended by the NTSB during its investigation of a midair collision in October 2000, the report said. Controller displays at Denver are locking up randomly, at a rate of a little over once a week. A recent report by the Government Accountability Office found that the FAA's troubles with getting STARS online were a result of its own failures in management of the project.