NextGen progress under Congress’ scrutiny

The management of the US Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen programme is once again to come under congressional scrutiny.

A review and update on the programme is scheduled for September 12 when the Subcommittee on Aviation will hear reports from FAA officials charged with overhauling the US air traffic system. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m Washington DC local time and will be webcast live.

Committee members will no doubt base much of their questioning on a recent report from  US Department of Transportation inspectors who conducted an audit on the programme.

It examined the near-term capabilities for NextGen and focused on the FAA’s actions in response to recommendations from a government-industry Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) task force on accelerating NextGen deployment, especially FAA’s “metroplex” initiative to improve airspace efficiency at large, congested metropolitan airports.

It found that while FAA quickly incorporated the task force’s recommendations into its NextGen strategic plans and budgets, its efforts are delayed in key areas, including its critical metroplex initiative.  “Moreover, industry is concerned that the initiative does not yet include other related task force recommendations, such as better managing surface operations, and may not deliver all desired benefits,” it concluded.

In addition, it said, the FAA has not yet resolved many of the barriers that will impede implementation of the task force recommendations, such as streamlining the process for deploying new flight procedures and training controllers on advanced procedures.

“We made seven recommendations to FAA to improve its implementation of the task force recommendations.  However, FAA’s response did not meet the intent of four of our recommendations, and we are requesting additional information from the Agency,” it said.

Read More: Feds under renewed NextGen scrutiny

Posted in CAAs/ANSPs, News, NextGen

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