GAMA Pushes Next-Gen Operator Incentives Before Subcommittee

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The general aviation industry, which each year contributes an average of $150 billion to the economy, lost 19,000 jobs over the past year and among the industry's biggest coming challenges is the implementation of NextGen. Financial incentives may help, says GAMA. The organization Thursday told a House Subcommittee on Aviation that steps necessary for putting NextGen in place "will be imperative in helping realize long-term safety, capacity, economic and environmental benefits." But user confidence is key, meaning, in the words of GAMA vice president of operations Jens Hennig, that "equipage will only take place when users are confident about the potential for benefits." Until then, GAMA supports financial incentives for operators. Meanwhile, the industry is pushing ahead with investments in NextGen avionics like Required Navigation Performance, data communications, and ADS-B. Those pieces of the puzzle not only help develop NextGen, but also stimulate economic growth and employment. There are potential bottlenecks.

Aside from whatever cost burden that ultimately falls on users, one bottleneck the industry hopes to avoid is approval and certification. NextGen will shift key facets of the air traffic control infrastructure from ground-based people and equipment to aircraft-based people and equipment. "GAMA looks forward to working with this Committee, others in Congress, the Administration, and industry stakeholders to develop opportunities to further NextGen through financial incentives for equipage," said Hennig.