As the aviation subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives wrestles with deciding which of the FAA’s 402 Air Traffic Control facilities should be remodeled and which ones should be combined to reduce operating costs, Congressmen have been hearing testimony from the FAA, DOT and National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) offi
Air Traffic Organization
It’s clear that the final release of the FAA’s Authorization Act has given a new fillip to the agency’s NextGen implementation activity. The 2012 Plan, released in March, has a much more upbeat flavor than its 2011 predecessor, which essentially looked backwards at accomplishments in 2010, when most activities were still in their early stages. Back then, the potential future benefits of NextGen were just that–potential.
For U.S. airplane owners and operators the simple four-letter acronym RVSM (for reduced vertical separation minimums, the process for reducing to 1,000 feet the separation between airplanes flying above 29,000 feet) signals the beginning of an onerous process to get formal permission from the FAA to fly in what has become an ordinary fashion.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has advanced airspace adjustment efforts in about a third of the regions designated under its multi-year Optimization of Airspace and Procedures in the Metroplex (OAPM) effort.
At the FAA, some say, program management has traditionally been an oxymoron. Several past and current programs attest to that assessment, one of them being NextGen’s En Route Advanced Modernization (Eram) system, which faces significant delays and cost overruns. Delivery of that system’s upgrade could now slip from 2010 to 2016, and its costs go from $2.15 billion to $2.65 billion.
On Tuesday, President Obama nominated acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to lead the agency for a full five-year term. He was tapped as the acting chief in early December, after now-former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt resigned in the wake of a drunk-driving arrest in Northern Virginia.
NextGen’s Performance Based Navigation (PBN) is at the heart of new airspace designs for Northern California. The new routes will improve the flow of air traffic into and out of San Francisco International, San Jose, Sacramento and Oakland.
Eleven of 30 FAA ATC modernization programs reviewed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) have exceeded their initial cost estimates by a total of $4.2 billion, and half have experienced delays.
Aerospace companies, airlines and communications providers have aligned to pursue the FAA’s Data Communications Integrated Services (DCIS) contract, the second major step in the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) modernization effort. The contenders expect a contract award in June for the 17-year, multibillion-dollar program.
The FAA’s ambitious ATC modernization effort known as the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) faces an unsettled 2012 and beyond after a number of setbacks in 2011.