AOPA: Lockheed Not Living Up To FSS Contract Expectations

 - May 15, 2007, 12:13 PM

Lockheed Martin, which took over operational control of most of the nation’s flight service network last year, is experiencing troubles with consolidation, AOPA asserts. As part of the 10-year, $1.8 billion contract, Lockheed is now in a seven-month consolidation process, during which it will merge 58 flight service stations into 16, along with three hubs. But AOPA, whose position on outsourcing the pilot tool morphed from one of caution to enthusiasm, now says that Lockheed Martin is not providing an adequate level of service. Excessive hold times, service outages and a lack of local knowledge have driven AOPA to provide a list of alternative sources for preflight information on its Web site. “In short, the FS21 (twenty-first century) system is in crisis and failing pilots,” said AOPA president Phil Boyer in a letter to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. The FAA, which recently fined the contractor $9 million for deficient performance, is currently reviewing a request from Lockheed Martin for an additional $177 million, citing what it said were incorrect labor rate figures given during the contract negotiations.