According to many aviation consultants, aviation is about to enter a period of growth broader than it has experienced in quite a while. Several world events–including the rising cost of fuel–are driving this growth. It seems many operators are replacing their older corporate aircraft with modern, more fuel-efficient aircraft. First-time operators acquiring new aircraft are also driving growth.
Next Generation Air Transportation System
U.S. and European aviation authorities agree that air traffic will double, possibly even triple, by 2025, and air traffic managements worldwide are busy devising solutions to meet this challenge, with new technologies and new procedures expected to be introduced gradually in the next several years.
While preparing for traffic to double and perhaps even triple in the coming decades, the FAA has made clear that putting up the ground-based infrastructure to support that traffic will be expensive, ultimately costing billions of dollars.
An analysis of 56 airports’ operational capacities has concluded that the FAA must “move forward aggressively” to implement the NextGen system or risk further delays at 27 major airports. The Future Airport Capacity Task (Fact) report also found that 15 metro areas will have to make use of smaller, regional airports, such as Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and Stewart International in New Windsor, N.Y., to avoid increasing congestion.
Although a “road map” for the next-generation ATC system will be released June 23, members of the House aviation subcommittee at a hearing yesterday expressed some concerns about their efforts to date. Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is worried about oversight, particularly ownership of ADS-B, the “backbone” of the NextGen system.
Aerospace Industries Association president and CEO John Douglass warned Congress that government agencies must redouble efforts to develop the nation’s next generation air transportation system (NextGen) or the nation will suffer serious operational–and economic–impacts.
Aircraft flying over the Arctic Ocean can take more direct routes, save fuel and maintain schedules with activation of the FAA’s final Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures (ATOP) system at the Alaska Air Route Traffic Control Center.
ATOP has already been deployed at the agency’s New York center and Oakland, Calif., center, providing air traffic service over the Atlantic and Pacific regions.
The FAA selected a preferred alternative in late March for the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia airspace redesign project after 10 years of studies, meetings, legal wrangling and a bit of mud slinging. The Integrated Airspace Alternative (IAA) calls for entirely new concepts in airspace management and routing that the agency feels will greatly reduce delays in the busy northeast corridor.
FAA Administrator Marion Blakey continued her pitch for a new revenue stream for her agency during a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce early last month, comparing a Gulfstream IV flying from Teterboro Airport (TEB) to the Tampa, Fla. area to an airliner operating between New York La Guardia Airport and Miami. The FAA’s own N1–in which the Administrator often travels–is a GIV.
Like two punch-drunk prizefighters locked in a clinch, general aviation and the airlines continue to rain body blows on each other over the pending FAA reauthorization proposal that would shift much of the cost of funding the ATC system from airline passengers to GA operators.