The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the aviation community sent a plan to Congress today to show how the FAA will accelerate the benefits of key NextGen initiatives over the next three years. The agreement is the result of several months of collaboration between the agency and the NextGen Advisory Committee, which includes officials from the airlines, airports, general aviation, pilots, labor unions and safety specialists, manufacturers, international aviation, environmentalists and the Department of Defense.
“The flying public and all of the involved parties will benefit from aircraft flying more directly to their destinations throughout the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We’ll all enjoy improved safety and efficiency, while reducing carbon emissions and noise pollution.”
Under the plan, called the NextGen Priorities Joint Implementation Plan, the FAA and the various components of the aviation industry share responsibility to meet specific milestones, locations, timelines and metrics for “high priority, high readiness” NextGen initiatives. These initiatives include Multiple Runway Operations, Performance Based Navigation, Surface and Data Communications.
“We are finishing the foundational pieces of NextGen,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “Now is the time to increase our focus on deploying benefits and capabilities to the airlines and flying public. Collaboration like this with our stakeholders – airlines, pilots, controllers, manufacturers – is the key to the success of NextGen.”
According to the plan, the FAA will institute new NextGen procedures through the use of Multiple Runway Operations at 36 airports nationwide to increase airport efficiency and reduce flight delays. The agency plans to deploy satellite-based navigation procedures known as Performance Based Navigation (PBN) at three key metropolitan areas – Northern California, Atlanta and Charlotte – to provide more direct flight paths, improved airport arrival rates, enhanced controller productivity, increased safety due to repeatable and predictable flight paths, fuel savings and a reduction in aviation’s environmental impact.
The plan also calls for the FAA to increase Surface Operation data sharing in order to increase predictability and provide actionable and measurable surface efficiency improvements at our nation’s airports. Finally, the FAA is accelerating its work on Data Communications services, which upgrades communication between pilots, air traffic controllers and airline operations centers from voice to digital, providing enhanced safety and efficiency of the airspace system, especially under bad weather conditions.
Industry stakeholders are responsible for ensuring pilot awareness of new runway and airspace procedures, equipping aircraft with DataComm technology, collaborating with the FAA on performance based navigation airspace redesign, and data sharing.