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Improved Surface Operations

Improved Surface Operations will improve safety, efficiency, and flexibility on the airport surface. The capabilities in this portfolio address surface movement and the exchange of information that occurs from before the aircraft pushes back from the gate up to departure and after landing from exiting the runway to arriving at the terminal gate.

This portfolio will achieve success by tracking the movement of surface vehicles and aircraft, incorporating the movement data into the airport surveillance infrastructure, and sharing the information with air traffic controllers, pilots and airline operations managers.


  • Capacity

    Takes advantage of the inherent capacity to meet airspace user demands at peak times and locations while minimizing restrictions on traffic flow. To respond to future growth, capacity must increase, along with corresponding increases in efficiency, flexibility, and predictability, while ensuring that there are no adverse impacts on safety and giving due consideration to the environment. The air traffic management system must be resilient to service disruption and the resulting temporary loss of capacity.

  • Efficiency

    Addresses the operational and economic cost-effectiveness of gate-to-gate flight operations from a single-flight perspective. In all phases of flight, airspace users want to depart and arrive at the times they select, and fly the trajectories they determine to be optimum.

  • Environment

    Contributes to the protection of the environment by considering noise, emissions, and other environmental issues in the implementation and operation of the aviation system.

  • Flexibility

    Ensures the ability of all airspace users to dynamically modify flight trajectories and adjust departure and arrival times, thereby permitting them to take advantage of operational opportunities as they occur.

  • Predictability

    The ability of airspace users and air traffic management service providers to deliver consistent and dependable levels of performance. Predictability is essential to users as they develop and operate their schedules.

  • Safety

    Uniform safety standards along with risk and safety management practices should be applied systematically to the air transportation system. In implementing elements of the system, safety needs to be assessed against proper criteria, and according to appropriate and globally standardized safety management processes and practices.

Implemented Capabilities and Locations

Facility Code Definitions

NextGen Implementation Plan (PDF)

  • Advanced Electronic Flight Strips (AEFS)
    • 5 Towers (CLE, EWR, LAS, PHX, SFO)

    Information as of November 30, 2017

  • Airport Surface Surveillance Capability (ASSC)
    • 1 Core Airport (SFO)
    • 1 Non-Core Airport (CLE)

    Information as of November 30, 2017

  • Cockpit Display of Traffic Information (CDTI) with Traffic Information Service-Broadcast (TIS-B) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) for Surface
    • Available NAS-wide

    Information as of November 30, 2017

  • Moving Map with Own-Ship Position
    • Available NAS-wide

    Information as of November 30, 2017

  • Situational Awareness and Alerting of Ground Vehicles

    Information as of November 30, 2017

  • Surface Surveillance Event Data Distribution to Users via System Wide Information Management (SWIM) Airport Surface Detection Equipment-Model X (ASDE-X)/Airport Surface Surveillance Capability (ASSC)

    Information as of November 30, 2017

  • Surface Visualization Tool
    • 2 ARTCCs (ZLA, ZNY)
    • Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC)
    • 9 TRACONs (A90, C90, I90, N90, NCT, PCT, PHL, SCT, SDF)

    Information as of November 30, 2017

  • Traffic Flow Management System (TFMS) and Time-Based Flow Management (TBFM) New Data Sharing via System Wide Information Management (SWIM) Subscription
    • Available NAS-wide

    Information as of November 30, 2017

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