FAA sends Congress a plan to speed up NextGen implementation

FAA said it has sent a plan to Congress for accelerating the implementation of the satellite-based NextGen air traffic control (ATC) system.future_of_air_traffic_control

NextGen has been criticized by members of Congress and US airlines for being rolled out too slowly and at too high a cost. FAA said collaboration with the NextGen Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers and labor unions, has enabled it to develop a plan to speed implementation of “high priority, high readiness NextGen initiatives” over the next three years.

According to FAA, the agency and “the various components of the aviation industry” will share responsibility “to meet specific milestones, locations, timelines and metrics for … [NextGen] initiatives … [to] include Multiple Runway Operations, Performance Based Navigation, Surface and Data Communications.”

FAA administrator Michael Huerta said, “We are finishing the foundational pieces of NextGen. Now is the time to increase our focus on deploying benefits and capabilities to the airlines and flying public. Collaboration like this with our stakeholders—airlines, pilots, controllers, manufacturers—is the key to the success of NextGen.”

FAA said it will institute new NextGen procedures at 36 airports “to increase airport efficiency and reduce flight delays. The agency plans to deploy satellite-based navigation procedures known as Performance Based Navigation (PBN) at three key metropolitan areas—northern  California, Atlanta and Charlotte—to provide more direct flight paths, improved airport arrival rates, enhanced controller productivity, increased safety due to repeatable and predictable flight paths, fuel savings and a reduction in aviation’s environmental impact. “

FAA added that industry stakeholders “are responsible for ensuring pilot awareness of new runway and airspace procedures, equipping aircraft with DataComm technology, collaborating with the FAA on performance based navigation airspace redesign, and data sharing.”

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