The FAA yesterday signed an agreement in Anchorage with a consortium of Alaskan aviation organizations to move ahead with the statewide implementation of ADS-B service.
Next Generation Air Transportation System
U.S. airlines are getting a lot of attention of late, with dire tales of gridlocked traffic and passengers trapped for hours because of weather problems, stretched-thin logistics chains and full flights. It’s a zoo out there, which is good for business aviation because the alternative has never looked worse.
While the debate continues to swirl on both sides of the Atlantic over the European Union’s scheduled imposition of a carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions trading program involving air travel, a new initiative to address the problem was launched in June at the Paris Air Show.
Most pilots by now are aware that at some point in the future, today’s ATC system is expected to morph into something called NextGen, Administrator Marion Blakey’s term for what was previously known as the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS).
At a Senate hearing on FAA financing last week, Delta Air Lines COO Jim Whitehurst, speaking for the Air Transport Association (ATA), reiterated one of ATA’s longstanding assertions that tracking departures and time in the system is the best way to measure the costs that aircraft impose for ATC services. The association first proposed such tracking in March 2006.
Several recent developments have begun to allay concerns that the FAA’s NextGen ATC modernization effort was stagnating because of lack of direction and sense of urgency.
The NextGen Concept of Operations was released on June 13 and the NextGen Enterprise Architecture on June 22. The Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) considers the two documents to be major milestones in the development process.
Bombardier Aerospace unveiled a series of updates to its CRJ900 regional jet during a June 5 event at the Signature Flight Support FBO at Washington Dulles International Airport. The 76-seat CRJ900 NextGen on display there became the first to enter revenue service on June 7, when Northwest Airlines subsidiary Mesaba Airlines flew it to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport from Minneapolis.
A consortium of academia and industry participants has launched a four-year program to evaluate the air traffic management (ATM) processes required to handle the forecast doubling, and perhaps tripling, of air traffic by 2025.
The FAA has expanded its Airspace Flow Program, which gives airlines the option during the peak summer season to accept delays for flights scheduled to fly through storms or to fly longer routes to maneuver around them.
At the FAA’s Joint Planning and Development Office Day on Capitol Hill recently, Administrator Marion Blakey introduced two NextGen future ATC documents. First was the agency’s 41-page 2008-2012 Flight Plan, which announced projects such as the statewide Alaska ADS-B project.