For Immediate Release

March 14, 2013
Contact: Paul Takemoto
Phone: (202) 267-3883


AirPASS is the operating concept that would designate aircraft with certain NextGen capabilities as eligible for priority handling. Under AirPASS, previously known as “best-equipped, best-served,” aircraft would receive priority for operations such as takeoffs, approaches and reroutes if they were equipped with NextGen technologies, as well as proper certification, crew training and FAA approval.

The goal of AirPASS is to provide incentives for aircraft equipage, which in turn will accelerate the benefits of NextGen – faster, more efficient flights, enhanced safety and less fuel burn. Those benefits can be fully attained if a large percentage of aircraft in a particular airspace or at a particular location are NextGen-equipped.

The FAA last year held public meetings and tasked a cross-agency group to identify potential AirPASS scenarios that could be implemented in about two years. The agency is now planning for the following scenarios:

  • Deconflicting airport operations and reducing weather minimums at New York’s LaGuardia and JFK airports, as well as at Chicago O’Hare and Midway.
  • Pairing Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approaches (SOIA) at San Francisco. SOIA procedures enable aircraft to fly dual approaches to runways spaced less than 2,500 feet apart, even in marginal weather conditions requiring pilots to rely on their instruments.
  • Giving priority to aircraft equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) on East Coast offshore routes in order to relieve congestion on mainland north-south routes.
  • Allowing aircraft equipped with ADS-B to perform In-Trail Procedures in the South Pacific, which would allow them to more easily climb to more efficient, fuel-saving altitudes.

The FAA is developing AirPass in response to recommendations from a RTCA task force in 2009 that recommended that the agency consider operational and financial incentives to improve aircraft equipage. In 2011, the NextGen Advisory Committee also recommended that the FAA develop equipage incentives.

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