Lockheed Penalized For FSS Missteps

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The FAA said Tuesday that it withheld $3 million in payments to Flight Service Station contractor Lockheed Martin in the first quarter because of poor performance. "There's evidence of dropped calls and pilots not getting information," FAA Administrator Marion Blakey told Bloomberg. "There are penalties in the contract and we'll apply them." In October 2005 Lockheed took over the 58 previously FAA-run FSS facilities under a $1.7 billion award. Since the beginning of this year pilots have complained about being on hold for extended times while waiting for briefings -- in fact, several pilots recently told AVweb that they had to wait on hold for an hour or more to get a preflight weather briefing. FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto is unsure if more penalties are in store for Lockheed Martin in the second quarter, which is when pilot complaints have increased sharply. Lockheed spokesman Keith Mordoff told Bloomberg that Lockheed has taken steps to fix "intermittent service issues" while it is consolidating the FSS facilities.