ALPA Lauds Value and Progress of NextGen
WASHINGTON-- Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA) representatives, led by ALPA president Capt. Lee Moak, participated this week in multiple government-industry forums highlighting the progress and value of NextGen, the multiyear, multibillion-dollar effort to modernize the U.S. airspace and air traffic management capability. NextGen is a "system of systems" involving state-of-the-art space-based navigation procedures, extensive redesign of the airspace in and around major metropolitan areas, airport upgrades, and technological improvements in aircraft and air traffic control facilities. ALPA representatives were universal in their praise of FAA's leadership in ensuring all stakeholders are involved and continuing to keep such a massive transportation improvement project moving forward. "Parts of NextGen are here now, generating efficiencies, improving safety, and saving time and money every day with every flight at major airports," said Moak. "We saw examples, one after another, of efficiency improvements, fewer delays, better traffic management, lower fuel use, and reduced noise and emissions. With FAA's continued leadership, I am convinced we will see this trend continue and strengthen." Key to the successes highlighted during the week's meetings is performance-based navigation, which allows identification of aircraft position with a greater precision than ever before, allowing air traffic controllers to know, reliably and predictably, where every airplane will be when established on the new NextGen procedures. This allows use of optimized flight paths and reduced spacing between aircraft, saving fuel, time, and emissions, improving efficiency, and doing it all with increased margins of safety. ALPA has long supported NextGen and is an active stakeholder participant in the development process. Capt. Sean Cassidy, ALPA's first vice president and national safety coordinator, echoed Moak's praise. "The FAA has a tough job managing the workload required to build NextGen in the face of competition for scarce resources, and they need to know they'll have long-term funding support if we expect them to continue the improvements we saw this week," said Cassidy. This week's list of success stories confirms what ALPA has frequently observed--that NextGen initiatives give us the ability to safety and effectively move forward, with 21st-century technology replacing decades-old systems. "The traveling public deserves to see NextGen continue and flourish, and that's going to mean a commitment from stakeholders to continue following FAA's lead and a commitment from Congress to recognize the value of this program and see it through to completion," Moak concluded. Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world's largest pilot union, representing more than 51,000 pilots at 32 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.