The October meeting of the NextGen Advisory Committee featured approval of an interim recommendation aimed at improving today’s operations and setting the path for the future in the Northeast Corridor (Washington, DC/Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston airports and associated airspace). This includes operating the full operation, on-time and predictably.
In remarks from NAC Chair David Bronczek, COO and President FedEx Corporation, “Our plans should include setting a path that leverages current capabilities while building a system that is truly NextGen.”
The Interim report covers 24 initiatives in the 18-month time frame, from October 2017 through March 2019, and outlines preliminary information for initiatives occurring in 18-36 months, and those 3 years or greater. The final recommendations will identify creative solutions to implementation challenges such as resource availability, funding, equipage and impacts to local communities.
The Northeast Corridor recommendations include commitments by the FAA as well as the aviation industry – aircraft operators and airports. Industry commitments involve close collaboration with the FAA in conducting outreach to the communities affected by changes in procedures as well as commitments to train operational personnel in support of key collaborative initiatives.
Looking beyond the 18-month time frame, the Chairman stressed the need to explore stretch goals and NextGen implementations that hold promise of significant and bold steps forward. Mr. Bronczek noted, “We must be bold, if we are going to be successful.”
The NAC also received a report from the Joint Analysis Team that identified fuel savings and associated emission reductions from Optimized Profile Descents (OPDS) in Boston and safety and workload benefits from OPDs in Gary, Indiana. The analysis of DataComm, a key NextGen Program, demonstrated promising savings in taxi out time when DataComm-equipped aircraft are rerouted.
The meeting featured a prominent discussion on the challenging issue of aircraft equipage and its impacts on moving forward with advanced, more efficient procedures in the Northeast Corridor and across the U.S. NAC members reviewed an equipage survey that suggested it would be many years until operator equipage was at levels at which NextGen procedures could be used regularly. The Committee discussed concerns about this constraint to NextGen implementation and identified the need for the NAC to further review and address this pressing issue.
This meeting was the final gathering of the NAC during the term of Mr. Michael Huerta as Administrator of the FAA. The NAC was honored that Mr. Huerta attended the meeting in person and offered his remarks. Mr. Huerta, who helped establish the NAC, used the occasion to recognize the excellent work of the Committee on dealing with challenging NextGen issues. Mr. Bronczek and the rest of the NAC thanked Mr. Huerta for his dedication as a civil servant and his recognition and trust in the NAC to use collaboration to move NextGen forward.
For more information, visit the NAC page.