Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has joined the chorus of industry leaders calling on Congress for more money for the FAA. Buttigieg told Reuters legislators need to “pick up the pace” in approving budget money to upgrade the agency’s decades-old computer systems. A failure of the system that serves up NOTAMs prompted a nationwide ground stop a few weeks ago and has put the apparent frailty of the computer infrastructure in the spotlight. The CEOs of the country’s largest airlines, whose computer glitches periodically cause troubles themselves, have urged budget increases to bolster the FAA’s systems.
The House has passed a bill to get the process started but Buttigieg said he’s asking Congress for a comprehensive upgrade rather than a patchwork of fixes. “We’re working to make sure we can accelerate the NOTAM modernization but what we really need to do is pick up the pace on FAA’s wholesale system modernization—all the way down to the backbone of how the data moves,” Buttigieg said.