Airspace is the glue that holds the Aerospace and Defense industry together. Every plane, UAS, missile or platform must travel through airspace to get where it is going. Managing the Nation Airspace System is a complex challenge and relies on the most sophistic Air Traffic Management system for airspace above 400 feet and what will soon become UAS Traffic Management for airspace below 400 feet. Eventually, these two systems will be integrated into one to manage all airspace safely.
There are also plans underway to operate in the so called “Upper Airspace” above 60,000 feet. All of these pieces working together will ensure that current operations will be able to be continued safely and that new technologies will be able to be integrated as soon as it is safe to do so.
Modernizing aviation infrastructure will also be critical. We need to start to plan out both the physical and technology infrastructure needed to ensure that our airspace will be able to integrate all types of users into the NAS. Part of this includes the full implementation of NextGen which will speed up our Air Traffic Management and allow for a far better experience for the flying public. Some of the other parts are less clear as we look to start to define the future of the NAS.
AIA directly engages on these topics with policymakers and key staff at government agencies through our dedicated Airspace Working Group and through in many of our other subcommittees.