NextGen Implementation Plan Released
March 10, 2010 -
The NextGen Implementation Plan provides an overview of the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) ongoing transition to NextGen. The Plan
lays out the agency’s vision for the Next Generation Air Transportation
System, now and into the mid-term, which is defined here as 2012-2018.
The Plan further identifies the goals the FAA has set for technology and
program deployment and the commitments the FAA has made in support of
that vision. Through annual updates, the FAA will document their work
plan for meeting those goals.
Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) is the name given to a
new National Airspace System due for implementation across the
NextGen consists of five elements: Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast, System Wide Information Management, Next Generation Data Communications, Next Generation Network Enabled Weather, and NAS Voice Switch.
The FAA primary goal is to
provide new capabilities that make air transportation safer and more
reliable, improve the capacity of the National Airspace System (NAS)
and reduce aviation’s impact on our environment.
The FAA already has achieved a number of critical
NextGen milestones. They have initiated and expanded satellite-based
surveillance, improved airport runway access, increased safety and
efficiency on the ground, and enhanced airspace safety and operations.
NextGen technologies and
The use of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast
(ADS-B) to control air traffic in the
and Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures already are saving
fuel, reducing emissions and managing noise in demonstrations with our
domestic and international partners. The FAA has worked closely with
In September 2009,
nearly 300 members of the aviation community who form the RTCA NextGen
Mid-Term Implementation Task Force issued a final report that included a
number of recommendations that helped the FAA galvanize its plans to
deliver tangible near-term benefits today as they build a foundation for
the mid-term. The report represents the aviation community’s commitment
to NextGen, as well as its endorsement of the FAA’s incremental approach
to NextGen implementation.
The FAA’s action
plans support the operational capabilities the Task Force requested,
such as sharing surface movement data for better collaborative decision
making. Working to help airports safely increase throughput on closely
spaced as well as converging or intersecting runways. Also working to
safely increase access to the NAS for all operators, and provide
controllers with the tools and operator procedures they need to enable
the safest, most efficient, economical and environmentally friendly
routes of travel.
airports are among our most important partners in these endeavors. In
the face of increasing demand, airports are being called on to provide
additional capacity in a safe, efficient and environmentally responsible
manner. We will realize significant benefits from integrated airport
planning and terminal airspace redesign projects that deliver new
airport infrastructure served by PBN capabilities. In this Plan, the FAA
highlights the critical contributions
This year’s update
reiterates the FAA vision for the operational environment between now
and 2018. That vision includes improvements at every phase of flight,
and it fundamentally changes the way things work in the NAS. Common
weather and system status information will dramatically improve flight
planning. Technologies such as ADS-B and Data Communications, combined
with PBN procedures and the policies that enable them, will increase
safety and capacity and save time and fuel, decreasing carbon emissions
and improving the ability to address noise.
With NextGen, the
FAA will continue to advance safety as it looks ahead at increasing air
traffic and the introduction of very light jets, unmanned aircraft
systems and commercial space flights.
To continue to
minimize risk the FAA will introduce a wave of new systems and
procedures over the next decade, the aviation community will continue to
rely on Safety Management Systems, integrated safety cases and other
proactive management processes that allow the FAA assess the safety risk
of all the proposed changes.
and systems on the ground and in the flight deck enable the mid-term
system. The FAA will make the most of technologies and procedures that
are in use today, as they introduce new systems and procedures that will
fundamentally change air traffic automation, surveillance,
communications, navigation and the way information is managed.
In addition to the
advanced systems and procedures develop through the NextGen
transformational programs and solution sets, the mid-term system depends
on coordination with and support from FAA specialists on safety,
airports, the environment, policy development and the other building
blocks of a modern air traffic management system. FAA information and
management systems must keep all these activities synchronized as they
approach the mid-term, reach it and move forward.
The FAA will use a
strategic Environmental Management System approach to integrate
environmental and energy objectives into the planning, decision making
and operation of NextGen. Under the Continuous Lower Emissions, Energy
and Noise program, the FAA is targeting partnerships with industry to
advance noise and emissions reductions, while improving energy
efficiency. The FAA will continue to accelerate the certification and
implementation of sustainable alternative fuels for use by aircraft
As airports and
other segments of the greater aviation community already are starting to
reap the benefits of NextGen capabilities, the best is yet to come. The
FAA latest estimates indicate that by 2018, NextGen will reduce total
flight delays by about 21 percent, providing $22 billion in cumulative
benefits to the traveling public, aircraft operators and the FAA.
During this same
period, it is expect to save more than 1.4 billion gallons of fuel from
air traffic operations alone, cutting carbon emissions by nearly 14
million tons. These conservative estimates make the case for NextGen and
affirm that the path we are traveling with aviation partners is the
As the FAA moves
forward, they remain keenly focused on safety as the FAA’s top priority.
They will vet each new system and procedure through the agency’s safety
management system process. The FAA’s Aviation Safety and Information
Analysis and Sharing program, in use today, will monitor the NextGen
operational capabilities to identify any precursor risks.
are not limited to
The FAA remains
confident it will achieve NextGen, but they are fully aware that the
road to success will be challenging. Undertaking NextGen is extremely
complex, in part because systems in various stages of development and
maturity are interdependent and will be implemented in a variety of time
frames. NextGen’s increasing dependency on aircraft-centric capabilities
means that the FAA must rely on operators’ willingness to equip. The FAA
will not see real performance improvements until operators are properly
equipped to reap the benefits of those capabilities. We are managing the
uncertainties inherent in such a large-scale undertaking by using a
portfolio management approach for NextGen development and deployment.
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