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.

NextGen for Airports Brochure (June 2013) (PDF)

Questions

Answers

Q; In discussing the approach procedures at my airport with pilots, there seems to be a need for a new PBN procedure. I’m the airport manager. How do I request consideration for a new instrument flight procedure?

A: You can obtain additional information and submit requests.

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Q; Where can I find information on newly published RNAV and RNP approach procedures? How many LPV approaches has the FAA published?

A: The FAA's Global Navigation Satellite Services group provides updates on the RNAV inventory, including LPV.

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Q; My airport has an existing WAAS-enabled LPV or LP approach, but I'd like to get better ceiling and visibility minimums. What can I do?

A: 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:

  • Airport managers should work with their Airport District Office and Flight Procedures Office to identify the specific factors that were used to establish the existing approach minimums.
  • Then, airport managers can facilitate the obstruction mitigation, approach lighting, and/or aeronautical survey actions that may be needed to achieve lower minimums. Some of these improvements could be eligible for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds.
  • Finally, the airport manager would request that FAA revise the approach procedures. Additional information on approach procedure development is available at the Instrument Flight Procedures Information Gateway.

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Q; What does NextGen do for airport capacity, particularly during inclement weather?

A: A key benefit of NextGen is being able to retain VFR-like capacity during inclement weather in order to maintain efficient and reliable operations at an airport. Improving closely spaced parallel runway operations (CSPO) is one way to do this. FAA is pursing a two-phase strategy for CSPO . Phase One is evaluating what can be done to minimize spacing with existing technologies; Phase Two will evaluate what can be done with new technologies and avionics. Overall, improvements to CSPO will be incremental and maintaining safe separation from wake vortices will still be a requirement for aircraft flying a CSPO approach.

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Q; I'm interested in vehicle transponders for my airport to improve situational awareness. Where can I go for additional information?

A: AC 150/5220-26 - Airport Ground Vehicle Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) Out Squitter Equipment provides guidance on the development, installation, testing, approval, and maintenance of ADS-B Out squitter units for airport ground vehicles.

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Q; How does NextGen help improve ATC-surveillance at airports that don't have radar coverage today?

A: Expanding surveillance to non-radar airports that are restricted to "one in, one out" operations will improve safety and capacity. In Colorado, the Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) system reduces delays for up to 75 flights per day during ski season. In response to an RTCA Task Force 5 recommendation, FAA is exploring state and local cost-sharing initiatives such as the Colorado WAM initiative. FAA is also evaluating how to get more coverage out of already planned ADS-B locations where ground based transceivers are being installed and adding new ADS-B stations in non-radar areas.

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Q; What is FAA doing to help airports prepare for NextGen?

A: 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.

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