Research being conducted at Embry-Riddle’s Florida NextGen Test Bed is paying off for airlines — nationally and internationally.
According to data released by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), airports around the country are cutting millions from their operating budgets by incorporating NextGen technology — transitioning from radar to satellite-based systems to improve safety, navigation and scheduling. At Dallas/Fort Worth, American Airlines reported an annual savings of $10-12 million by using NextGen procedures off the ground to reduce arrival/departure delays due to weather, aircraft performance and surface movement. These new systems are also yielding a 20% increase in the number of hourly departures.
Another example is from Denver International Airport, where United Airlines reported $21 million saved in fuel costs in 2013.
“When you look nationally at all airports and all airlines incorporating NextGen, the multiplier results are dramatic,” said Jorge Ferrand, director of Advanced Programs at the Test Bed located on Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus. “This is one reason why many of us refer to NextGen as ‘NowGen’ – results are being realized now. And Embry-Riddle has been a significant contributor to several of these initiatives. Good news is that we do not have a results problem; bad news is we have a messaging problem.”
One way Ferrand has been trying to improve messaging is by hosting facility tours — one of which was recently taken by Ken Greene, deputy manager of aviation at the Denver airport.
“The tremendous potential that NextGen has needs to be fully understood and embraced by all stakeholders,” Greene said. “[These] procedures positively impact operating costs for the airlines by reducing aircraft fuel consumption levels, improving air quality, reducing noise levels and making air travel safer.”
The Denver region implemented NextGen procedures starting with inbound flights in December 2012 and expanded to outbound flights in March 2013.
“The future of air traffic management must include the provision of technology, training and support for our air traffic managers and controllers as the new procedures are implemented,” Greene added. “The NextGen community needs to make sure that these critical resources are funded in order to ensure that the initiative is implemented successfully.”
According to initial FAA estimates, NextGen research through 2030 is expected to cost $38 billion but generate $106 billion in total benefits to travelers, aircraft operators and the FAA — with a majority of that estimated savings, $77 billion, being generated from avoided delays. Other savings come from reducing cancellations and CO2 emissions, charting more direct routes and other safety improvements.
Another way Embry-Riddle is contributing is by researching aviation situational awareness: working with satellite technology to provide air traffic information every second, instead of every minute, that a plane is in the air.
“We’re fortunate to do work with the international community, supporting a key piece of what is referred to as ‘International Harmonization,’” Ferrand added. “These efforts will make available more frequent, more precise and more content-rich information for stakeholders supporting better decisions about individual flights, as well as their airspace.”
For more information on NextGen, see FAA’s 2013 Next Gen Implementation Plan.
For more information and/or to schedule a tour of the Florida NextGen Test Bed, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Florida NextGen Test Bed
NextGen is a transformational modernization of the National Airspace System involving the flying public, government, industry and general aviation. The Florida NextGen Test Bed is a Federal Aviation Administration facility created to foster a partnership between government, industry and academia helping to shape NextGen's goals. Contracted by the FAA, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University manages and collaborates with industry partners to advance NextGen concepts and procedures.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit http://www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.
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