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NextGen keeps U.S. at the forefront of 21st century aviation

NextGen keeps U.S. at the forefront of 21st century aviation

On Friday, the NextGen Institute held its annual public meeting, and I was pleased to speak about DOT’s commitment to investing in the aviation infrastructure America needs to thrive in the 21st century.

The Institute is a partnership between the Federal Aviation Administration and the aviation industry to work together on the definition, goals, development, and implementation of our Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).

Our airspace system has served us well for over a half century.  The challenge we face today is ensuring that this system will continue to serve us well in the future.

As our airspace grows increasingly congested, we need smarter, satellite-based and digital technologies and new procedures that combine to make air travel safer, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly.

NextGen is our plan to make that happen.

It’s transforming the way we manage air traffic, moving us from the ground-based radar system of today to the satellite-based system of tomorrow. It's improving the way we do business for the traveling public, airlines, airports, and the environment. And, we’re already seeing its benefits all around the country.

Satellite-based navigation is making a big difference in Denver, where the FAA estimates these procedures will annually save operators $9.8 million dollars by reducing fuel usage.  United Airlines alone anticipates saving 100 to 200 pounds of fuel on each arrival into Denver International.

NextGen navigation is also saving time in Atlanta, where we can safely allow jets to take off slightly closer together at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  This means an additional eight to 12 planes departing per hour.  We estimate customers saved more than 11,000 hours by not waiting in line to take-off last year – 11,000 hours! 

And we intend to bring this type of efficiency to other major airports in the future.

By 2020, we project that NextGen will provide a 41 percent reduction in delays compared to what would happen if we did nothing to modernize our aviation system. 

But to keep making progress, we need the proper resources.

That's why President Obama's budget maintains this Administration’s commitment to America’s future aviation needs by requesting $15.6 billion for the FAA, including nearly $1 billion for investments in modernizing our national airspace through NextGen. 

NextGen saves time and money, and protects the environment – that’s an outcome that businesses, travelers, and the aviation industry can all agree on.

DOT and the FAA are ready and able to roll up our sleeves to continue working to modernize our national air traffic system. We’ve got the largest and safest aviation system in the world, and we will continue working together with the NextGen Institute to ensure that America stays at the forefront of aviation in the 21st century.

John Porcari is the Deputy U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

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Dear Mr. Porcari, With all due respect, you fail to take into account NextGen's harmful impact on those living under the narrow strip of its flight paths, particularly in the densely populated NY Metro area. Previously unaffected areas are being bombarded up to 20 hours a day by loud and low-flying aircraft at 30 second intervals. These planes are flying directly over homes, schools, parks, etc. Hundreds of thousands of people have had their quality of life destroyed and are facing severe health effects as a result of the increase in jet noise and pollution. I like to travel and am not against progress in aviation. However, that progress should not come at the expense of hard-working taxpayers who find programs like NextGen, and who have the misfortune of living under these new departure and landing routes.