Today’s air routes follow radio beacons installed in the very spots where bonfires burned that directed Lindbergh-era pilots in the 1930s. Change is long overdue. NextGen is a national transportation infrastructure priority.
The Transportation Department and the White House are looking at ways to accelerate NextGen implementation by up to eight years. This will only be possible with robust federal funding support — not just for FAA programs and infrastructure, but also for avionics equipment in the aircraft that will transport passengers and cargo around the United States and the world. For less than the cost of one high-speed rail project, every aircraft that flies into and out of the 35 busiest airports in the United States could be equipped with the avionics needed to transition to NextGen. And many NextGen capabilities, such as performance-based navigation, can be implemented in the short term while the full array of services and technologies of the air traffic system of the future are certified and produced.
Timely implementation of these capabilities will not only improve the business case for operators’ investment, but will vastly improve the overall flying experience for the public.