NextGen to NowGen…Now

 - March 26, 2009, 11:50 AM

In the ongoing effort to morph the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) into a “NowGen,” equipage by users keeps cropping up as one of the main stumbling blocks to implementing many NextGen benefits in the next three to five years. The Air Transport Association (ATA), which represents the nation’s airlines, has repeatedly likened the need to boost the national priority for NextGen to something mirroring the Eisenhower Administration’s national priority for the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s. Joe Kolshak, senior v-p of operations for United Airlines and testifying for ATA during a Senate aviation subcommittee hearing yesterday, asserted that with leadership and investment, key elements of NextGen can be delivered in the next three to five years. “We are certainly more than willing to pay our share, but we’ve got to see the benefits,” he told the panel. Hank Krakowski, chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization, elaborated, “This issue of proper equipage is critical.” And Gerald Dillingham, director of physical infrastructure issues for the Government Accountability Office, suggested that the FAA “may have to make incentives for equipage.”