Lockheed Martin Wins FSS Contract...

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What It May Mean, And When

All of the existing FSS positions in the FAA will be eliminated and Lockheed Martin will hire its own staff. The FAA announced Tuesday the company won the government's largest-ever competitive outsourcing competition with a bid that will cut the number of FSS offices by two-thirds (from 58 to 20) by 2007, intends to save taxpayers $2.2 billion over 10 years, and at the same time pledges to offer virtually on-demand availability of flight information for pilots. Lockheed Martin beat four other applicants, including a partnership between the existing FSS organization (members of the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists, NAATS) and the Harris Corp. Lockheed Martin assumes control in October of this year and will start whittling down the number of FSS locations next year. Its contract runs for five years at a price of $1.9 billion and there's a five-year renewal option. Guaranteed faster, better service at lower cost is the promise as Lockheed Martin assumes operation of the flight service station system over the next few years. The four unsuccessful bidders have 15 days to challenge the decision and the FAA can take up to 90 days to review those challenges.