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Partnering to Modernize our Nation’s Air Transportation System

On January 31st, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched a new, online dashboard providing increased transparency into a vital component of NextGen's modernization of our Nation’s air transportation system infrastructure.

On January 31st, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched a new, online dashboard providing increased transparency into a vital component of NextGen's modernization of our Nation’s air transportation system infrastructure. Referred to as Performance Based Navigation (PBN), the deployment of highly efficient flight routes takes advantage of GPS satellites and advanced equipment that is already installed on most commercial airliners.  The new dashboard on the NextGen website features PBN data that is accompanied by video depictions and an interactive map highlighting the benefits of PBN deployments and new flight paths around the country.

And while we're committed to highlighting the benefits of NextGen through the web, we're also engaging with our aviation industry partners.  In fall 2011, we convened a roundtable discussion with chief executives from Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United, and US Airways, where we heard their ideas on accelerating the benefits of a modernized air traffic system. The leaders were clear: immediate benefits could be gained by implementing fuel-efficient, satellite-based air traffic control procedures and using these procedures to reduce delays, energy consumption, and emissions while expanding air traffic capacity.  We agree – these NextGen procedures will provide broad benefits to our Nation, our economy, the travelling public and local communities.   As a result, we are continuing to champion a series of actions to raise the priority, increase the transparency and accountability, streamline the deployment and foster increased use of these new flight paths.

Just one example is the Next Generation Air Transportation System Project in Houston. In October 2011, it was named one of our Nation’s high priority infrastructure projects for expedited regulatory review and permitting. A 12-month reduction in total project time is achieved by obtaining approvals concurrent to design. Its progress is now highlighted on the Federal Permitting dashboard that was launched in December.

Working alongside the aviation community, we have also identified a set of new NextGen procedures that would provide the greatest benefits to the system and the traveling public.  Now their deployment status can now be tracked by the public on the FAA’s NextGen website.  As an increased number of new procedures are deployed, we will be working with the airlines to track their use, so you will be able to see how the benefits of “Performance Based Navigation” continue to grow.

Moving forward, we are committed to the power of open government to help make a modernized air transportation system a reality.

Aneesh Chopra is U.S. Chief Technology Officer, John Porcari is the Deputy Secretary of Transportation, and Michael Huerta is Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.