Stresses Agency Needs Funding For NextGen
The FAA has published a fact sheet detailing the agency's
efforts to modernize the nation's air traffic control system...
while also taking the opportunity to plug its proposed funding
reauthorization plan, now before Congress.
"The air transportation system is stretched thin," the FAA
notes. "Currently, the system handles 750 million passengers each
year. We expect this number to reach one billion by 2015 and
forecasts indicate increases in demand ranging from a factor of two
to three by 2025."
The agency also notes that "[d]elays in 2006 were the worst in
history. Passengers at the three most delayed airports in the
nation -- Newark, JFK and LaGuardia -- experienced on-time arrivals
roughly 65 percent of the time and delays averaged one hour. That
To combat the problem in the short term, the FAA says it has
gone to the ground: building new runways, installing new
technology, and putting new procedures in place to facilitate
capacity and efficiency enhancements.
"Since 2001, we have built 10 miles of new runways at 10 of our
busiest airports," says the agency. "Together these accommodate
over 1.6 million more operations per year and decrease average
delay per operation at these airports by approximately 5 minutes.
By 2010, new projects will be completed at Boston, Philadelphia,
Los Angeles, Seattle-Tacoma, O'Hare, Dulles and Charlotte."
But that's not enough, the agency warns.
"As air travel demand continues to rise, and it will, simply
adding pavement to the existing airports will not be enough," the
agency states. "The current air traffic system was built on 1960's
technology and has reached the limits of its ability to handle more
traffic. It cannot be expanded.
"NextGen is a revolutionary approach that will enable us to
handle up to three times today's traffic levels," the FAA asserts.
"Aviation's ability to continue to play its traditionally dynamic
role in our economy will be substantially diminished unless new
NextGen technology and procedures are put in to place now."
And that will take money... more money that the FAA has access
to now, the agency claims.
"The Administration's NextGen Financing Reform Act, sent to
Congress in February, will provide a stable, cost-based revenue
stream to fund the transition to NextGen," the FAA writes. "The
current tax system expires September 30, however, so Congress must
Notice how the agency's "Fact Sheet" quickly turned into a
political campaign plug? Thought so...