Metroplex: Improving Traffic Flow in Complex Airspace
A key NextGen goal is to safely improve the overall efficiency of the National Airspace System by increasing efficiencies in metroplexes — metropolitan areas with multiple airports and complex air traffic flows. The FAA's goal is to enhance the way aircraft navigate this complex airspace to improve airport access and make flight routes more efficient.
Through the Metroplex program, the FAA is collaborating with aviation stakeholders to improve regional traffic movement by optimizing airspace and procedures based on precise satellite-based navigation. Each metroplex includes one or more commercial airports with shared airspace that serves at least one major city. This new way of operating has the potential to reduce fuel burn and aircraft exhaust emissions while improving on-time performance at the metroplex and between the departure and arrival airports, known as city pairs. City-pair performance is the most direct way for airline operators to connect two markets.
In collaboration with the aviation industry, the FAA identified 21 metroplexes where improved performance could benefit not only the region, but the entire airspace system. The FAA and the aviation industry then prioritized 13 initial metroplex locations where improvements were expected to yield near-term benefits. As the program evolved, the FAA added two more sites and deferred four others, resulting in the 11 active or completed metroplex sites reflected in the map below.
The FAA and industry partners are identifying and measuring how NextGen metroplex improvements provide qualitative benefits. These benefits are estimated during the study phase of the project and then updated in the design phase once the FAA finalizes the airspace designs for a particular metroplex location. The FAA conducts post-implementation analysis using radar track information to provide a projection of expected overall benefits. The analysis does not measure city-pair performance. Benefits associated with each metroplex location are available on project specific pages for each site.
The FAA has adopted a structured process for implementing Metroplex projects which includes multiple opportunities for public involvement through the design phase, required environmental analysis, and implementation of procedures. Some public meetings will be informational. Others will be public workshops where interested community members can talk with FAA airspace designers to learn about metroplex work, ask questions, and find out how airspace changes might affect their community. The agency provides a structured, publicized method to advertise the workshops, as well as to collect public comments. Please see the Community Involvement page for more information.