FAA's Extreme Makeover

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Agency To Reinvent Itself...

On Tuesday, the FAA announced a major overhaul of its organizational structure, with the aim of making the agency leaner and more efficient. The new Air Traffic Organization (ATO) business structure will consolidate the FAA's air traffic services, research and acquisitions, and Free Flight Program activities, and focus on providing the best service for the best value to the aviation industry and the traveling public. "Today is the first phase of creating a true, performance-based air traffic organization," said Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. The ATO was developed under the guidance of Russell Chew, a former American Airlines captain and executive who now serves as the FAA's first chief operating officer. The ATO will consist of five major service units: En Route & Oceanic, Terminal, Flight Services, System Operations, and Technical Operations. Also included within the organization's top level are five staff-level business groups: Safety, Communications, Operations Planning, Finance and Acquisition, and Business Services. "Our mission throughout each level of the ATO is clear -- to provide the highest value and quality air traffic services that our customers -- the aviation community -- should rightly expect," said Chew. "With Secretary Mineta's vision and support, Administrator [Marion] Blakey and I are putting together an organization that delivers on this mission by putting a premium on our employees and accountability for our performance." The agency also named several key executives who will head up the units within the new structure.