"NextGen Makes Business Sense"
J. Randolph Babbitt, Reagan Washington National Airport
February 3, 2011

JetBlue Press Event

Thank you, Mr. Secretary. It’s good to see everyone here this afternoon.

The great thing about this partnership with JetBlue is that it’s going to give us a glimpse into the future right now.

Companies that are equipping today with NextGen are going to reap the benefits of the transformation of our air space system, sooner rather than later. They’ll see greater efficiency, fuel savings and more on-time arrivals as we continue to increase the availability of NextGen procedures.

It makes business sense to get your customers where they’re going quickly, safely and efficiently. It helps a company’s bottom line.

JetBlue’s A320s will fly more direct routes and cut delays. They’ll save fuel and also leave a smaller carbon footprint on the environment.

That’s because the aircraft will use new GPS-based technology to fly less congested routes.

JetBlue will also share with us their flight data, which is going to show us in detail how and where the GPS-based technology is saving time, distance and fuel.

JetBlue will benefit from more reliable arrival times on its East Coast routes.

We have partnered with other airlines and helicopter companies in the past to test GPS-based navigation in different geographic regions such as the Gulf of Mexico and routes over the Pacific.   

A number of airlines have already adopted GPS-based procedures in their daily operations, and they are reaping the benefits ahead of the pack.

Southwest Airlines started using GPS-based arrival procedures at a dozen airports last month. The company estimates it will save $60 million a year in fuel costs once it uses these procedures nationwide.  

And the state of Alaska is where NextGen was first introduced. Alaska Airlines has been using GPS precision approaches and departures at Juneau International Airport since the mid-1990s.

And by using GPS technology, Alaska Airlines can land at a number of airports with pinpoint precision using more direct approaches, which saves fuel.

Also, aircraft fly precisely through mountainous terrain with low visibility right into the airport thanks to the higher accuracy of GPS.

Alaska Airlines estimates it would have cancelled 729 flights last year due to bad weather at Juneau if it were not for the GPS approaches.

By not cancelling those flights Alaska Airlines saved $7.5 million last year, and passengers got where they wanted to go. And that’s just at one airport. The figure doubles to $15.8 million in savings taking into account the other 25 airports where the airline also uses such approaches.

These are some of the examples of airlines that are saving money and offering better service now thanks to NextGen.
JetBlue will be able to take advantage of new NextGen routes from Boston and New York down to Florida and the Caribbean that are like an HOV lane. They bypass the congestion.

By using GPS navigation, instead of relying on radar, JetBlue’s aircraft will benefit from more reliable arrival times and the ability to schedule more flights.

It also means that equipped aircraft can jump ahead of others in line for take-off because they’re using the less congested NextGen routes.

I’m very excited that we will be able to quantify the cost savings and improved efficiency as a result of this partnership. We want to share the data and spread the word. It’s best to come on board sooner and take advantage of the innovations that are moving our airspace system forward.

Thank you very much for your attention.

I’ll open it up to questions now.