Jan. 28, 2004 - The FAA has decided to continue using contractors to provide DUAT (direct user access terminal) briefings. That's a decision AOPA strongly supported because it will provide better services for pilots.
Two private-sector contractors currently operate the DUAT system. FAA had planned to take back the service and integrate it into the new OASIS system now being installed in flight service stations. But the private contractors are today providing a higher level of service than what was planned for the FAA-operated system, according to AOPA.
"This is good news for pilots," said AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Melissa Bailey, "because DUAT is such a valued service, and integrating it into OASIS had the potential to stifle innovation and drive up the cost for the government to provide the service."
According to the decision made by FAA's associate administrator for Air Traffic, the investment is not prudent, considering the success of DUAT, the low cost of providing it, and the impending A76 study on the best way to provide flight services to pilots.
AOPA participated in a work group that discussed the pros and cons of integration and argued against integrating the two systems, in part because competition between private vendors leads to more enhancements that benefit pilots.
"DUAT integration was one of the long-term goals of the original OASIS contract signed some six years ago, but DUATS has advanced to the point that an integrated service would offer pilots less than what they've come to expect now," said Bailey.
"The bottom line is, DUAT works, and the vendors are constantly striving to add user value to their products. Why fix something that's not broken?"