The FAA’s decision last month to award ITT Corp. a $1.8 billion contract (including options) to develop and deploy automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technology sets in motion a major NextGen ATC project. But it will take years for the full benefits to be realized.
Air Traffic Organization
The Reason Foundation has assembled a group of nine “leading aviation experts”–including former DOT Secretary Jim Burnley, former FAA Administrator Langhorne Bond and former NBAA president Jonathan Howe–that is calling for “significant changes” to the U.S. ATC system.
Congress has begun hashing out the final act in the most recent FAA funding battle. Bills in the House and the Senate are scheduled for votes and the differing measures could proceed to a joint House-Senate conference committee for final resolution later this fall. Some Capitol Hill observers expect that a conference agreement could be reached before the end of this month.
During a press conference this afternoon, soon-to-be-acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell and Vincent Capezzuto, the agency’s surveillance and broadcast services program manager, announced that ITT has been awarded the $1.8 billion contract (including options) to develop automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B).
The head of the 14,000-member air traffic controllers union said last month that the FAA is trumpeting the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) to mask poor morale and severe staffing shortages among its controller workforce.
Ronald Zilberbrand resigned from Chicago-based JSSI International, the company that he co-founded. He was president of the company and executive v-p of 154 West Holdings, a holding company with direct ownership of JSSI. He has resigned to pursue other interests. JSSI CEO Rick Haskins is assuming the role of JSSI International president until a successor is named.
Most pilots by now are aware that at some point in the future, today’s ATC system is expected to morph into something called NextGen, Administrator Marion Blakey’s term for what was previously known as the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS).
• Congress recessed for about a week to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday and returned to face a full plate of pending legislation before recessing again from July 26 through early next month. As of June 25, the bill count in the House of Representatives rose to 4,753 and, in the Senate, to 2,606, which certainly gave legislators plenty to debate.
Several recent developments have begun to allay concerns that the FAA’s NextGen ATC modernization effort was stagnating because of lack of direction and sense of urgency.
The NextGen Concept of Operations was released on June 13 and the NextGen Enterprise Architecture on June 22. The Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) considers the two documents to be major milestones in the development process.
In a report released in late May, the Transportation Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) said the FAA has made “significant progress” in reducing runway incursions compared to five years ago. But it cautioned that the serious risks associated with runway incursions underscore the need for maintaining vigilant oversight and a proactive approach to preventing severe accidents.