Timely Actions Needed to Advance the Next Generation Air Transportation System
On June 16, 2010, we issued our report on actions needed to advance the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). We conducted this review at the request of the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its Subcommittee on Aviation, who asked that we examine the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) progress toward the NextGen transition. Our report addresses (1) key actions needed to successfully implement NextGen, (2) FAA and partner agencies’ progress in leveraging resources and budgets, and (3) FAA’s efforts to engage the private sector in shaping NextGen policy issues.
We found that a number of critical actions are still needed for successful implementation. Among them, and perhaps most important now, is setting realistic expectations and firm requirements for what can be achieved in the midterm and assessing the associated risks. In addition, FAA faces challenges in ensuring partner agencies adjust their plans and budgets specifically to accommodate NextGen efforts. Thus far, FAA has not fully leveraged partner agencies’ existing research and development that could significantly enhance NextGen development and reduce costs. While FAA has made some progress in engaging the private sector to develop NextGen and shape related policies, it must better define the role of the NextGen Institute and ensure demonstration projects are more outcome-focused.
We recommended a number of actions to help FAA reduce implementation risks, strengthen the multi-agency approach, and improve coordination with the private sector. FAA concurred with all of our recommendations and proposed appropriate action plans.