The rising need for a safer, predictable, and efficient air transportation system in America gave rise to The Next Generation Air Transportation initiative. The initiative was to modernize aviation, and it is one of the most significant infrastructure projects in American history. Federal Aviation Administration decided to continue with its partners to implement new modern and resilient technologies to enhance secure National Airspace System instead of making minor improvements to ageing infrastructure. Next Generation Initiative in Aviation is not one goal, technology, or product but a transformative and innovative technology being implemented after a serious of testing to ascertain its safety. The research focuses on the history of Next Generation Initiative; this is done through exploring its development and implementation plans. Also, the components of the initiative are outlined together with its benefits on U. S Air Transportation System and challenges facing the initiative.
History of the Next Generation Initiative
The idea of the Next Generation Initiative in Aviation became apparent in 2000 when air transport suffered costly delays and severe congestion (Gardi, de Ridder, Sabatini, & Ramasamy, 2013). Two years after that year, U. S Aviation industry recommended future development of integrated plan in U.S air travel. In the year 2003, congress passed Aviation Reauthorization Act leading to establishment of an office that joined both planning and development and its vital role was to create a vision of future U.S aviation that will deliver efficient flight in the Next Generation, and to carry out research plans for long term development in air transportation system (Wensveen, 2018). The result of The Joint planning and Development (JPDO) efforts was development of integrated plan designed for Next Generation Aviation system in the year 2004. The initiative defined high-level objectives, goals, and requirements that will fulfil their need in transforming U.S Aviation industry. The plan was not implemented by only Federal Aviation Administration and department of transportation, but it involved other government agencies which deal with air travel services.
The concept of operations for the initiative was released to all aviation stakeholders in the year 2007. The idea provided Next Generation Initiative goals for the year 2025 (Yim, 2014). The growth of the initiative was designed to happen step-by-step and the document of The Joint Planning and Development Office updated its report concerning the initiative in 2011, at the same time Federal Aviation and Administration issued its first version of an evolutionary partnership concerning operational plans showing how the agency will run the initiative through 2025 (Gardi et al., 2013).
The original plan of the initiative is comprised of operations of passenger terminal and airport surface. The purpose of the service is to drive agency research to eliminate alternatives and ideas that were not beneficial and operationally practicable. The main objectives of the Initiative were to increase both efficiency and capacity, maintain safety, mitigate impacts caused on environment, and ensuring easy access to airports and airspace. Federal Aviation and Administration agency carried out various development facilities and researches that evaluated and stimulated impacts of components of Next Generation initiative.
The initiative through its critical operations attracted some commercial airlines which became involved in the initiative. Federal Aviation Administration agency signed an agreement with a commercial airline JetBlue in 2011 (Yim, 2014). The deal was to allow JetBlue fly flights that are selected and equipped with systems designed by the Next Generation Initiative. The improved routine became the primary gain by JetBlue and Federal Aviation Administration was able to collect real-time data of the operations of JetBlue. Also, in 2013, United Airlines announced to equip its fleet with avionics to help Aviation agency collect more data to see how they can improve the Next Generation air transportation services.
The Next Generation Initiative Advisory Committee
To address the recommendations of the task force in ensuring the continuation of aviation industry collaboration, Advisory Committee was established which comprised of aviation stakeholders. The advisory group provides advice ranging from policy-level to implementation issues that faces the entire aviation community. They participate in responding to specific tasking which is received from Federal Aviation Administration (Wensveen, 2018). The recommendations, advice, and tasking offered by the committee relate to concepts, operational capabilities, requirements, use of technology associated with the initiative, and other considerations that are related to its operations and that affect future of aviation and adoption of new technologies in U.S air travel system.
Also, the committee recommends standards for Federal Aviation Administration agency; the standards relate directly to Air Traffic Management System and can be adopted for efficient operations. The FAA has managed to implement some of Next Generation Initiative priorities, producing measurable and useful benefits to the industry together with enhancing work at different target locations (Scovel & General, 2013). The committee made a joint implementation plan with the agency priorities, and the program had four areas of focus which include; navigation based on performance, improving operations at airports by optimizing multiple runway operations like reduced separation with parallel landings that co-occur, data communications improvement through use of digital system, and lastly increasing effectiveness of both surface and data sharing. The joint plan was designed to accelerate delivery with a target of over three years to enhance efficiency of air transportation services.
Components of the Next Generation Initiative
The Initiative has specific components that are designed to ensure fulfillment of goals and objectives of Next Generation Initiative. The first component is Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast which is more reliable and is of high accuracy compared to the RADAR system. The part is developed for airing information such as location, route, and speed of aircraft (Wensveen, 2018). It utilizes signals from satellite radio and stations in ground. The second component is System Wide Information Management which is a program developed by Federal Aviation Administration to manage information of various channels. The part controls the security and standardization of current data.
The third component is Data Communication System which is mostly referred to as Data Comm. The System provides controllers and pilots to reach information digitally, more specifically the approach procedures, the transfer of textual clearances, and the way pilot's access information from controllers and giving back other information to controllers. The fourth component is Low Visibility Operations which uses Head-up Displays (HUDs), Landing System III, and Enhanced Flight System that makes it possible to land with a vision on where to land. The systems make it possible for planes to auto-land in conditions of low-visibility. The fifth component is Airport Improvement Program that enables development and research in aviation industry (Scovel & General, 2013). Federal Aviation Administration through the program was able to do thorough research and development on both runways and airports. The program assisted in improving operations and capacity of air transportation system. The other component is Network Enabled Weather system which became effective in 2016 as Federal Aviation Administration began to disseminate information about weather from only one source. FAA provided the information on their new processor, and it helped aviation industry very well as the information disseminated was clear and more accurate.
Benefits of the Next Generation Initiative
The benefits of the Next Generation Initiative are seen in flight operations, airports, and environment. In-flight services, air transportation system benefits on two categories of improvements made by the initiative. The benefits are capacity and efficiency and access. Mostly both capacity and efficiency go hand in hand. Efficiency is attained when delays from disruptions and weather are reduced, also a reduction of distance which is needed for safe separation of planes, increase of procedures, and flight-path options available for aircraft controllers during maintenance of traffic flow at airports (Gardi et al., 2013). Through such efficiencies, capacity is also improved. The program of surface initiatives are significant to the board as they enhance safety and more so the situational awareness not forgetting reduction of fuel consumption and reduced emission of carbon dioxide together with reduced tarmac delays. The outcome of Improvements made on surface operations is increasing incapacity.
The second significant improvement in flight operations is access which focuses on runways and airports. Next Generation Initiative improves services relating to parallel runways that are well spaced and that intersect and converge at specific points. Both Required Navigation (RNP) and Area Navigation enhance capacity and efficiency in approaches and departures.
Another benefit is on airports. Airports benefits from improvements in surveillance, safety, access, and environment. Surveillance at airports with the use of traffic control services is very significant. In 2016, Federal Aviation Administration planned to incorporate a system of Wide Area Augmentation performance with procedures of a vertical Guidance approach in all runways to assist in situational awareness (Gardi et al., 2013). Moreover, airports benefited with the installation of automated Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) in-ground stations which update automation systems at the airports as aircraft too were equipped with the same operators.
On the side of the environment, there was a reduction in gaseous greenhouse emissions from planes due advancements made in engines of the aircraft, policy initiatives, modeling and science improvements, and sustainability in fuel consumption. Environment benefits from Next Generation Initiative are direct and straightforward. With improved efficiency in air transportation system, both time and fuel are saved which results in less fuel burned. In 2009, with courtesy of Next Generation Initiative, lower energy, a program on noise and emission was established with a purpose of coming up with promising engine technologies and new airframe which can be used in commercial designs (Scovel & General, 2013). The initiative established Environmental Management System (EMS) intended to ensure protection of environment in Next Generation operations. The system outlines ways of ensuring environmental stewardship and performance through analyzing impacts of aviation policy and standards on environment.
Challenges Facing the Next Generation Initiative
Although the establishment of the Next Generation Initiative enhanced operations, not all travellers are satisfied with the kind of service they get, especially in small communities and small markets. The need to create accessibility through ensuring planes reach more destinations is a challenge as travel time due to such connections from origin to destination becomes longer compared to nonstop flight (Scovel & General, 2013). Also, increased flight frequencies and increase in options of city-pair as a result of connections still a lot of time is wasted waiting to fly on routines that are more circuitous. Furthermore, there is reluctance in fully implementing some of the initiative...
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