NextGen – Air Traffic Control Modernization 

NextGen – Air Traffic Control Modernization


The Issue: Flight and airport delays cost business travelers time and money, and result in lost business opportunities and cancelled meetings. Business travelers support NextGen to reduce delays and keep the air transportation safe. Facing intense pressure to reduce the federal debt and budget deficits, the Administration and Congress will make difficult program funding cuts. Likewise, agencies will adjust priorities based on limited funding. Full NextGen funding is essential and should not be reduced.


Based on 1940’s era radar, the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system is inefficient and slow. In the next few years, more passengers and aircraft will flood an already overloaded system. With approximately 720 million passengers in 2011, FAA projects a billion passengers by 2024, increasing chokepoints and flight delays in already heavily congested airspace. Without continuing modernization, the system will suffer gridlock in severe weather and business travelers will pay a steep price.


NextGen is comprehensive ATC modernization using a Global Positioning System (GPS) built on reliable satellite-based navigation. GPS and other sophisticated technologies/flight procedures reduce flight delays, flight times and aircraft fuel burn/emissions. FAA projects that by 2018, NextGen will reduce flight delays by 35% and provide $23 billion in delay reduction benefits. In a 2011 business case study, Deloitte estimates $29 billion in net benefits in the U.S. each year the new system is in place, beginning in 2026.
GBTA Position: Full NextGen funding is essential and should not be reduced. Accelerating NextGen means business travelers will see fewer flight delays in the next few years, rather than ten years from now. GBTA will work with other stakeholders to focus NextGen efforts on the Northeast Corridor, including the New York metropolitan area where over 50 percent of flight delays originate. In addition, strong agency leadership is essential to strengthen management, oversight and implementation.


GBTA supports the Administration’s proposed 11 percent increase over 2012 levels in NextGen funding for the 2013 fiscal year. Although the House and Senate proposed FAA budgets included almost a billion dollars in NextGen funding, FAA is operating at 2012 levels because Congress has failed to pass a 2013 budget. Full Next Gen funding must remain a priority. GBTA opposes any effort to decrease NextGen funding as part of a deficit reduction package. 


Relevant Links:


FAA NextGen


National Travel and Tourism Policy


FAA Administrator Concerned About NextGen Funding/Fiscal Cliff