Tells RTCA Forum "We Have To Get This Launched"
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt
delivered remarks to the RTCA Forum on NextGen Tuesday, saying the
reality of the air traffic control system is not reality TV. "That
really is the taxpayer sitting there 16th in line," Babbitt said in
his prepared remarks. "That really is Congress waiting there on the
tarmac. The reality is — we need to fix that."
Babbitt praised the task force for its seven month effort to
arrive at its recommendations. "The efforts of this group have
resulted in a sharpened focus for the way ahead," he said. "No
matter how you interpret the report or its recommendations, one
message comes through with great clarity: Everyone agrees
that NextGen can’t come soon enough."
During the study, the task force
identified five problem areas: Surface, Runway Access, Metroplex,
Cruise, and Access to NAS, as well as two cross-cutting
areas: Data Communication Applications and Integrated ATM, and
offered actionable recommendations in each of those areas.
The Task Force also made four broader recommendations it considered
essential to the implementation of any of the prior
recommendations. "The Task Force has forged a consensus across a
wide spectrum of users, and I applaud you for that," Babbitt said.
"This is an excellent head start. You’ve given us a short
list of recommended operational capabilities. (The) Task Force
efforts have provided us with a unique opportunity to align our
implementation plan with the desires of the aviation
Babbitt told the RTCA forum that while the report contains
several important themes, one of the main benefits it offered is
credibility for the FAA. "I think the report gives us the traction
we need to build confidence in the FAA’s ability to deliver
early benefits. When we show that we can, will, and do deliver the
goods, the rest will come naturally," he said.
FAA Administrator Randy
But the bottom line, Babbitt said, is that the administration
understands the importance of implementing NextGen. "I’ve
flown enough to know that NextGen is a success story waiting to
happen. We need to advance well beyond the preliminaries. We as a
group need to commit together to giving it the juice it needs. Lest
there be any doubt, I’m making that commitment for the FAA
right here, right now. And I have the support of the Secretary and
the President. They want this up and running, and they are fully
supportive. The green light can’t get any greener than