Performance Reporting and Benefits

NextGen is vital to ensuring the National Airspace System (NAS) safely accommodates air traffic growth and new types of aircraft as well as supporting aviation's essential role for Americans and the U.S. economy.

Improvements from new NextGen technologies, capabilities, and procedures realize benefits in safety, efficiency, and capacity. The benefits graphic below highlights the total benefits measured from more than 20 NextGen capabilities through more than 200 implementations across the nation. Fuel savings also mean lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Between 2010 and 2023 implemented capabilities generated $10.9 Billion (in 2023 dollars). Safety benefits encompass $0.6 billion (6%). Fuel savings amount to $1.9 billion (17%). Aircraft operating cost savings come to $2.2 billion (20%). Passenger travel time savings* make up $6.2 billion (57%).

*Per DOT guidance, the FAA values benefits using not only aircraft operating cost savings, but also passenger travel time savings.

Increase from 2022 to 2023

The benefits estimated from implemented NextGen programs increased from $9.5 billion in 2022 to $10.9 billion in 2023. Here are the factors that drove the increase: 

  • Another year of benefits accrual from previous implementations added $900 million.
  • Data Communications (Data Comm) for en route traffic and a new Integrated Departure/Arrival Capability site added $100 million.
  • Inflating the values from 2022 to 2023 dollars contributed the rest of the amount.

Year and Type

Of the estimated $10.9 billion in accrued benefits to the airlines and flying public, the graph below depicts benefits accrued each year from 2010 to 2023 by type of benefit.

Benefits increased from 2010 to 2019. In 2020, due to a drop in travel demand from COVID-19, benefits fell drastically, but began increasing again in 2021 as demand grew once more. On average the breakdown of benefits is safety benefits: 5%, fuel savings: 20%, aircraft operating cost savings: 20%, passenger travel time savings: 55%. 2023 benefits have reached approximately 70% of 2019 levels.

NextGen continued to deliver benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic but at lower levels because of the drop in flights and congestion.

Many NextGen benefits result from improving a system under stress and experiencing delays. Early in the pandemic, airline flights sank to unprecedented low numbers, which resulted in dramatically reduced delays. NextGen implemented capabilities are focused on improving the NAS when demand approaches the capacity limits across the system. NextGen’s value is greater when demand is high, and as demand grows in the future, the value of NextGen programs will grow exponentially.

Cumulative Improvements

Communication, navigation, and surveillance are the sources for nearly $6.1 billion in benefits. Automation accounts for about $2.5 billion, and separation takes credit for an estimated $2.3 billion.

stacked area chart of cumulative benefits of early NextGen improvements. Increased capacity with Wake Recat (Separation). More effecient operations through initial metering capabilities (automation). Reduced flight time through improved routes; more efficient communication through Data Comm tower services; fuel savings with Metroplex, OPDs, and others (Comm, Nav, Surveillance). Categories described in text following this image.

The chart above highlights NextGen benefits accrued by year and segregated into three capability groups: communication, navigation, and surveillance; automation; and separation.

Benefits measured after implementation continue to accumulate in subsequent years. The cumulative increases result from continued benefits from previous implementations plus new implementations.

Total achieved benefits measured thus far represent key implementations. Learn about achieved benefits by year and type or by domain of the capabilities measured, and capabilities the FAA measures as part of NextGen performance reporting.

Joint Analysis

NextGen benefits have been measured in detail since 2010. The FAA calculates them by analyzing performance before and after implementing NextGen capabilities. Once a detailed evaluation is completed after implementation, these benefits continue into future years if the systems, procedures, or both remain in use by air traffic controllers and pilots. As with the effects of the pandemic, the FAA adjusts annual benefits for changes in demand.

In 2016, the FAA started examining many of these benefits in partnership with the industry through the Joint Analysis Team (JAT) under the NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC).

The JAT was created to increase the transparency of benefit estimates and come to an agreement on benefit values and measurement methodology. The NAC has committed to using the JAT to evaluate specific capabilities in the NextGen Priorities Joint Implementation Plan at select locations.

Key capabilities evaluated by the JAT include:

  • Data Comm tower service
  • Performance Based Navigation standard terminal arrival procedures with optimized profile descents
  • North Texas Metroplex redesign
  • Established on Required Navigation Performance
  • Time Based Flow Management’s En Route Departure Capability and Integrated Departure/Arrival Capability
  • Simultaneous converging instrument approaches
  • Wake Recategorization

Through the JAT, the FAA has gained the trust and understanding of industry for our post-operational benefit methodology. One benefit not necessarily used as a meaningful measure of benefits by the airline community is the value of passenger travel time. Per Department of Transportation guidance, the FAA applies passenger travel time savings to projected flight delay savings.

Beyond the JAT, the FAA has completed post-operational benefit analyses using JAT methodologies for more than 10 capabilities across 60 sites.

Not all NextGen implementations produce measurable benefits, and some have proven too difficult to quantify. For example, shared data from System Wide Information Management has produced a new industry in third-party data analysis in support of airlines. Learn where these and other capabilities have been implemented at an airport near you.


These are the categories measured to determine NextGen benefits:

  • Gate departure delay
  • Taxi-out time
  • Throughput
  • Arrival performance
  • Flight time, including predictability
  • Completion factor
  • Fuel burn

Delay savings result from measured changes in throughput (measure of capacity) or shorter routes. Higher fuel savings derive from improved flight profiles. To compare before and after NextGen implementations, calculating these measures requires “normalization” for changes in demand, weather, and runway configurations.

Normalizations for demand and agreeing on performance changes associated directly with NextGen implementations have been key successes for the JAT. With normalization, we can attribute performance improvements to NextGen’s capabilities.

As demand in a time period increases, so will the associated delay. We can estimate the delay associated with changes to levels of demand during the day and then compare performance to similar demand periods. 

During the pandemic, delays plummeted along with demand, and this change was clearly not driven by NextGen capabilities. Weather and runway configurations also affect delays. With NextGen, we have tools to improve capacity in lower ceilings and visibility, sometimes only in specific runway configurations. Some NextGen programs, like new Required Navigation Performance procedures, provide benefits even in low demand with shorter routes.

Looking Ahead

Through the JAT, the FAA and industry in 2024 are evaluating the benefits of Data Comm for en route traffic and Atlantic Coast Performance Based Navigation routes. 

Total achieved benefits measured thus far represent key implementations but are only a portion of the expected future benefits. Implemented capabilities to date will continue to produce benefits, and more recent implementations, such as Data Comm for en route traffic, will support further benefit increases. 

Last updated: Thursday, March 21, 2024