"The Latest on NextGen"
Michael Huerta, Washington, D.C.
September 21, 2012

NextGen Institute Annual Public Meeting

Thank you for the introduction, Pete (Dumont). 

As you’ve heard today, we are all in the development of NextGen together.  It is not just an initiative of the FAA.  It is not just a system used only by airlines.  It is a collaborative process that will ensure the future success of aviation here in the U.S.         

This morning, we highlighted that the public-private partnership is bolstering safe and efficient aviation and it will help us maintain our pre-eminence as the world’s leader in aviation.  Through our collaboration with various industry groups, we are showing NextGen’s priority, and the urgency with which we want to bring benefits to the traveling public now. 

And one of the key players in this government-industry partnership is the NextGen Institute.  I certainly appreciate the valuable input and support we have received from the Institute, and from the IMC.  We also continue to work with other industry partners, such as the RTCA, and the NextGen Advisory Committee.

The FAA also values the advice and interagency coordination of the JPDO.  And, of course, we work with airlines and other operators–they give us plenty of valuable NextGen data.  Data is so critical.  They experience NextGen first-hand, and their input is second to none. 

There are many private-public successes to highlight, as you have heard today.  For example, in Seattle, Washington, as part of the Greener Skies initiative, we are partnering with Alaska Airlines, the Port of Seattle, and the Boeing Company.  The new NextGen approaches for airlines flying into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are shorter, use less fuel, and are environmentally sound.  That’s through a lot of hard work by all of our partners, and thanks to that, we reached a milestone this summer. For the first time, Alaska Airlines is flying customers into SeaTac using these brand-new NextGen approaches.

In fact, these procedures will help all equipped airlines flying into SeaTac to significantly cut total fuel consumption annually, reduce carbon emissions and deliver other important benefits there in the region and throughout the whole system.

Now, partnerships have resulted in effectively dealing with congested airspace over busy metropolitan areas around the country.  And, it’s not just in Seattle – it’s in many locations, including Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte, California, north Texas, South/Central Florida, and right here in the Washington area.  Yesterday we were in Orlando talking about what we’re doing in South/Central Florida.  And more regions will follow.

The old way of doing business was to improve air traffic procedures at one airport, separate from the others. But we’ve taken a different approach. We are looking at metro areas as a whole and bringing all our stakeholders to the table – airports, airlines, our air traffic controllers and federal agencies. We are working together to improve air traffic flow around all of the airports in a metropolitan area.  We are creating new and more direct routes that will relieve congestion and improve safety and efficiency.

By changing the way we approach the problem, we are improving our airspace in three years.  Under our old way of doing business, these changes would have taken five to ten years.  And in addition to our partnerships, we have also taken steps to change the way we do business and improve the efficiency of our internal workflow.

To signal the importance of NextGen within the FAA, we have elevated and strengthened our NextGen organization.  Also, we have a new Program Management Organization in the Air Traffic Organization to implement major technology programs.  This is all to strengthen and improve the coordination among NextGen initiatives and deliver benefits now.

Today’s discussions show that this is truly an exciting time in aviation history.  NextGen is fundamental to ensuring that we continue to operate the world’s safest air transportation system for many years to come.   By 2020, NextGen improvements will reduce delays by 38 percent as compared to what would happen if we did nothing.  This is a crucial development in light of the expected increase in air traffic over the coming years. 

Simply put, NextGen is a much better way of doing business – for the FAA, the airlines, the general aviation community, the airports, and the traveling public.

With the expert advice and counsel from the NextGen Institute, the IMC and other aviation stakeholders, we are all working together to strengthen our partnerships and transform our national air space.

Thank you very much for coming today, and thank you for your passion and commitment to NextGen.