FAA boss: Implement NextGen now

 - June 30, 2009, 6:09 AM

New FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt has joined a diverse group of aviation industry organizations in calling for an acceleration of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).

In a speech before the RTCA Symposium last month, Babbitt said NextGen is just not moving fast enough. “I want more, and I want more faster,” he said. “This Administration has been unequivocal in its statements that the status quo just won’t go.”

According to Babbitt, near-term wins that rack up benefits for the operators are absolutely needed. “Come December, we will begin providing surveillance in the Gulf [of Mexico],” he said. “In about a year, we’re going to have 340 of the ADS-B ground stations in place– nearly 50 percent of the total.”

Babbitt said the FAA is partnering with UPS in Louisville, Ky., to demonstrate advanced NextGen applications such as ADS-B and airline-based en route merging and spacing, as well as Rnav standard terminal arrivals with an optimized profile descent.

Once credibility is established by delivering on commitments, industry will back mid- and long-term NextGen programs that require equipage. But the implementation will require joint commitments from the FAA and from the industry.

The secret to launching Next-Gen is advice, he suggested. “We need constructive input,” Babbitt said. “The only way we are going to get rotation on this is by making sure the parties are at the table, making sure that their voices are heard.”

The NextGen Implementation Task Force has more than 350 people involved, and the working groups have 280.