There was good news for Alaskan pilots last week, when FAA Administrator Marion Blakey introduced the agency’s draft 2008-2012 Flight Plan, along with the NextGen Concept of Operations, to Congress.
Next Generation Air Transportation System
After spending a decade studying automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technologies, Russia and Sweden have signed an accord to bring to their part of the world the necessary ground infrastructure for support of the concept.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), in a response document released last week, reaffirmed its position on user fees and defied the FAA’s position, stating that the current FAA funding structure is sufficient to fund the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).
If you think the next-generation air transportation system (NextGen) is still far down the flyway, consider this. Starting in September, the FAA, in conjunction with Eurocontrol, will begin teaching courses in performance-based navigation (PBN) in all International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regions.
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.
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.