Now boarding.

The Federal Aviation Administration is building one of the largest public works projects in our nation's history to enhance safety, reduce impacts to the environment, and ensure a more enjoyable experience for the millions of passengers who take to the skies every year.

Follow along as we take you through a monthly journey.

During this series we take you through each phase of the flying experience to help you understand the technologies at work that impact your trip.

The Mission

Hours before your plane leave the gate, even before you arrive at the airport, airports are adopting new technologies that make push back times more predictable. By reducing the taxiing delays prevalent without the new procedures, flight departures are more predictable, and delays disappear. Watch the videos to see it in action.


Glimpse at these new technologies in action as we install them at airports across the country.

Making It Work

The timeline we are creating makes it easy to evaluate benefits. But to show you how those benefits are arriving means revealing the before and after of what is taking place at new airports every day. Use the simple visuals below to get an idea about new upgrades that make the boarding and departure experience more predictable for airlines and more enjoyable for passengers.

NextGen Technology

Without NextGen

At some airports without NextGen technology, planes are permitted to push back at any time and move into position, or 'taxi' to the runway, lining up on a first-come, first-served basis. And so a busy travel day can lead to congestion and long wait times on the tarmac.

Airport runway cluttered with disorganized airplanes.

Getting Results


Faster From Gate To Departure

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest airport in the world with close to 2,300 operations and 250,000 passengers a day on average. To achieve that level of performance, air traffic managers have to be attentive to what happens on the ground as well as in the air.

The FAA wanted to analyze what effect the new surface safety system, Airport Surface Detection Equipment — Model X (ASDE-X), would have on overall operations. On the days studied, ASDE-X, along with other factors, helped reduce taxi-out times at Atlanta by 48 percent in the morning departure push and 29 percent during the afternoon departure push.

Measuring time is an important function of this dramatic overhaul.

  • How long does it take for lights to push back from the gate?
  • How long does it take for flights to taxi out from gate to runway?
  • How long does it take to go from 'gate to gate'?

What we are witnessing is a move in the right directions. Look at the chart and examine the yearly improvements made at select airports.

Minutes Saved Per Flight

Time saved on tarmac reduces fuel use and cuts CO2 emissions, saving airlines money and benefiting flyers with better schedules.

Minutes Saved Per Flight
City Year (Fiscal Year) Minutes Saved Per Flight
Atlanta 2009 22.2
Atlanta 2012 19.5
Charlotte 2009 21.2
Charlotte 2012 18.8
New York 2009 33.1
New York 2012 25.5
Seattle 2009 16.9
Seattle 2012 14.9
Washington 2009 17.9
Washington 2012 17.3

Point Of View

Woman getting out of taxi at airport.

Be a passenger. You're accustomed to the headaches that sometimes plague plans. Bad weather? Cancellations? Delays? But that is about to change. We are revolutionizing the flying experience through new procedures that will help you get you to your destination faster.

Woman walking through terminal.

Walk through the airport toward your gate. Before you even board the airplane your flight is being placed in order for departure. Precision timing through data sharing means less sitting in the cabin ... waiting.

Woman walking down jet bridge toward airplane.

Boarding time. Pay attention to the shorter amount of time waiting at your gate and the new efficiency of metered push back: one right after another. This introduces a new order to the flying experience. Ready to get on board?


Up next in the Experience: We show you what happens after your plane rolls down the runway and lifts off the ground.