June 7, 2013

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen this week participated in a key panel of leading aviation policy planners on recommendations for how to best continue implementation of a satellite-based platform designed to preserve America’s global leadership in aviation system technologies and management.

The panel was held June 5 at the RTCA 2013 Global Aviation Symposium in Washington, D.C., and included representatives from airlines, general aviation, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and other stakeholders. RTCA is a federal advisory committee and a public-private partnership for developing recommendations on key issues critical to aviation modernization.

Bolen, a former RTCA chair who currently serves on RTCA’s board of directors, spoke about the progress NextGen has made and what it will take to keep momentum going on this important issue, especially in the current fiscally constrained environment.

“NextGen continues to move forward,” Bolen said. “When we first started, it was about this big technology, but now it’s also about increased capacity, environmental considerations, safety, reducing delays and bringing all of this together.”

Bolen explained that as NextGen matures it becomes a more resilient program, able to withstand major challenges, such as sequestration. Still, “taking NextGen from success to terms like scalability is enormously challenging,” Bolen said. To get there, “we’re going to have to relentlessly prioritize and figure out what we are going to do and when we’re going to do it; prioritizing and sequencing become critical.”

Implementing NextGen in a way that increases safety and efficiency is critically important for NBAA and its Members. Through NBAA’s high-level involvement in the NAC, the business aviation industry has maintained a strong voice to ensure that plans to modernize the aviation system address the needs of all aviation system users.

During the RTCA NextGen panel, the recent work of the NAC was reviewed and a lively discussion ensued on ways to expedite NextGen implementation and deliver near-term benefits to aircraft operators in the face of increasing challenges.

At the most recent NAC meeting, committee members considered three sets of recommendations for transmittal to the FAA:

  • Methods of implementing the new statutory authority for a streamlined environmental review process (Categorical Exclusion) contained in FAA Modernization Act of 2012 (developed by CatEx2 Task Group).
  • Barriers to implementing Performance Based Navigation (PBN) along with a prioritized list of mitigation strategies (developed by Operational Capabilities Work Group).
  • Data Sources for Measuring NextGen Fuel Usage, one metric for tracking and analyzing the impacts of NextGen deployment (developed by the Business Case and Performance Metrics Work Group).