I have been a big fan of NextGen ever since I first heard about it a decade ago. It just makes sense that creating more efficient routes would be good for business. It saves time and money and is better for the environment.
It may not be quite as easy for those that are not familiar with aviation to understand the value of this new technology, but Steve Fulton of GE Aviation wrote a great piece that describes NextGen as creating “highways in the sky”.
It is really so simple that I can’t believe I haven’t seen the comparison before. By streamlining the system it is unreal the amount of time, money, and fuel that can be saved. According to Steve’s article, deploying these new routes at 46 regional airports across the country would result in the following savings: 12.9 million gallons of fuel, $65.6 million, 274.6 million pounds of CO2 emissions, and 747 days of time.
If those numbers don’t open your eyes to the value of the system, I don’t know what will. Keep in mind, that is only at 46 airports, not including any of the major ones, and they are the ones that could use improved systems more than anyone else.
As we move forward with the implementation of NextGen and companies start to realize all of these savings, I hope it works to expedite the process even more. They always say that money talks, and there is no industry where that is more true these days than in aviation.