The NextGen modernization of the U.S. air traffic system is already providing benefits for airports large and small and will provide more as the effort progresses. NextGen will provide new capabilities that will improve safety and accessibility at airports used by piston- and turbine-powered general aviation aircraft.
In anticipation of future air traffic growth, NextGen capabilities will help commercial airports accommodate the demand for additional capacity in a safe, efficient and environmentally responsible manner. For example, the sharing and use of newly available surface surveillance data to track aircraft and vehicles will enhance safety and enable airports to make better use of existing capacity. And while airport surface improvement is one of the main near-term areas of emphasis, work is also underway on other initiatives, such as improving operations on closely spaced parallel, converging and intersecting runways.
Today, about 65 percent of general aviation aircraft that fly under instrument flight rules in the NAS have WAAS receivers installed. Airport managers, in collaboration with their stakeholders are key in determining the need for new or improved PBN procedures as they, collectively, have the best sense of how their airports are used. Steps to proceed include:
The scope of NextGen includes airports, both large and small. FAA is working across Lines of Business on the integrated planning for the development and rollout of NextGen capabilities. Specifically, we're identifying concepts and programs within NextGen that are relevant to airport planning and operations. And we'll continue to coordinate with airport stakeholders and plan appropriately for new infrastructure that is needed to meet future aviation demand.
Today, airports can seek Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding for the surveys, obstruction mitigation, and runway lighting that may be needed for new LPV approaches, or to achieve lower minimums with existing LPV approaches. FAA is also evaluating AIP funding eligibility for certain NextGen improvements, such as ADS-B squitters for airport vehicles operating in the movement area.
The FAA Future Airport Capacity Task (FACT) study identifies airports that are likely to be capacity constrained in 2020 and 2030. We will look at NextGen capacity improvements and identify the scale of additional capacity improvements that are needed to meet demand. While FACT is primarily focused on the busier hub airports, the study also examines capacity at general aviation airports in congested metro areas.
While not "NextGen" per se, our initiatives for Airport Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Safety Management Systems (SMS) are important for facilitating the transition to NextGen. In addition to making Airport Layout Plan (ALP) updates more efficient, Airport GIS is a key enabler for NextGen -- providing the detailed, accurate geospatial data that is needed for new WAAS/LPV approaches, cockpit moving maps, eNotams, etc. Airport SMS will help to incorporate safety considerations into planning for new infrastructure.
Airports can also make progress by understanding where their users, including airlines and general aviation, are in terms of equipping with advanced avionics such as RNAV and RNP. What are users' plans going forward? More aircraft may already be equipped to fly RNAV, RNP, or LPV procedures than you realize. For example, about 30% of general aviation aircraft in the U.S. are equipped to fly LPV. Higher levels of equipage can help to speed to transition from ILS to new, more flexible instrument approaches.
Page Last Modified: 05/13/13 14:08 EDT
This page can be viewed online at: http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/qanda/airports/