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Government’s role in air transportation has evolved as a matter of perceived necessity as air transportation has evolved and grown, especially since the beginning of the 20th Century. As the Wright brothers found success on December 17, 1903, achieving man’s multi-thousand year quest to fly, they solved a complex series of aeronautical problems that resulted in the first successful powered flight. They were driven by the problem and not by the outcome: they had no requirements specification to build an airborne passenger or cargo carrying vehicle for government or industry. Those applications came after they solved the problem of powered flight: first the military applications, then air mail, then passengers, and then bigger, faster, and better vehicles to address the growing air transportation market. As the fledgling science of aeronautics was challenged by building new aircraft for transportation, Government stepped into the picture to assure growth of the new air transportation industry while simultaneously regulating the industry to assure safety and the public welfare. Today the government role in the air transportation industry is unique. The government is the:
  1. largest aircraft owner and operator in the world,
  2. regulator of aircraft and related equipment manufacturing, airport operations, commercial air transportation, and flight operations, and
  3. operator of the National Airspace System, which provides the safe, expeditious control of all aircraft operations in the United States.
As the systems and technologies used to operate the National Airspace System have evolved, they are in dire need of modernization for use in the 21st Century. Modernization of an existing infrastructure is an extremely difficult task resulting in many issues and problems, and the issues facing government stakeholders are presented below. The order of presentation is: U.S. Citizens, U.S. Congress, Office of the President of the United States, US Departments and Agencies, Federal Advisory Committees, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, and State and Local Governments.

U.S. Citizens - The Ultimate Stakeholder in Representative Government

Examining the ultimate stakeholder in this discussion, the citizens of this country, one must necessarily deviate away from the standard five questions somewhat. Although each of the examples finds a niche within the concerns of Americans with regard to NAS modernization, it is distinctly different from what government, industry, academia, or globalization might focus upon. It is decidedly difficult to ascertain the mood of America as it pertains to the modernization of NAS, but there most certainly is a mood.

The mood of a nation is often associated with its affluence, consumer confidence, civility, and overall success. An editorial in The Economic Times May 19, 2010 edition cited that “…national mood is pretentiously interpreted or misinterpreted by the media…” and going further with the “…Breaking News almost always focuses on attempts to damage peace and harmony!” While the media cannot be solely to blame or credited with determining the national mood, public and popular opinion can be shaped by what people see and read, especially now with the Internet and near real-time information flow. Government watchdogs use this fact to influence government policy, and they invoke the emotion of the nation to influence regulators to possibly act sooner than they might otherwise.

‍The NTSB remains separated from the FAA for the reason of independence. The NTSB annually adjusts its “Most Wanted List” in order to ensure specific areas of concern are receiving attention in the media ( This is a deliberate ploy to raise citizen awareness and influence regulators to act more decisively and expedient than they might otherwise if the list was not in effect. The New York Times reported, “Americans are more pessimistic about the nation’s economic outlook and overall direction than they have been at any time since President Obama’s first two months in office…” Yet, the future of NEXTGEN may have a temporary stay of execution as reported in the Avionics Intelligence website. John McHale reported that with the FAA's 2012 budget request, the agency asking for $1.24 billion, $372 million higher than 2010 enacted levels (McHale, 2011). AOPA reported that, “The president’s budget sets aside $1.24 billion for NextGen modernization, an increase of $370 million over 2010 funding.” (Tennyson, 2011) Yet with the failure of the Congressional Super committee, when looming massive budgetary cuts threaten every agency of the federal government, is NextGen funding secure?

Again, the New York Times reported the “…cacophonous debate in Washington over the federal government’s ability to meet its future obligations, the poll presents stark evidence that the slow, if unsteady, gains in public confidence earlier this year that a recovery was under way are now all but gone.” So it is the public opinion that the economy is not strong, that their Congress is unable to lead, and their pockets are again to be gouged for more precious tax dollars, does the future of NextGen look secure? In a recent survey of frequent flyers, asked the importance of on-time departure reliability when making a choice of airline to fly, the data inferred that the frequent flying public still esteems safety highest in their priorities when choosing an airline for travel (Buaphiban, Jackson, & Townsend, 2011).


The mood of a nation; May 19, 2010; Retrieved from
Tennyson, E.; February 14, 2011; Retrieved from /110214no_ user_fees_but_aip_and_nextgen_funding_in_president.html
John McHale; 15 Feb. 2011; Retrieved from
Rutenberg, J., & Thee-Brenan, M.; April 21, 2011; The New York Times.
Buaphiban, T., Jackson, D., & Townsend, H.; November 28, 2011; Airline On-Time Performance Influence on Customer Choice. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

‍U.S. Congress

The US Constitution vests the Congress with legislative powers. While this power is principally to make laws, Congress also appropriates money and regulates commerce, among other duties. It is the federal government that preempts state law in many issues of aviation commerce (Gessell & Dempsey, 2005).

Legislative Issues

A key example of Congress’ stakeholder role in aviation is appropriations, for example, in 2003, the Vision 100—Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (2003). The findings of this Act point out the economic interests of aviation are $900 billion dollars annually, or 9% of the gross national product while accounting for 11 million jobs. The bill goes on to emphasize the technology needs of the air transportation system and concludes that the US must prepare for future growth, and revitalize the aviation and aerospace industries.

Provide Oversight of Government Agencies

The core functions of providing funding and regulating commerce make Congress a key stakeholder. Congress regularly tasks the General Accounting Office (GAO) to investigate issues, including the FAA and NextGen. For example, in 2011, Congressmen Mica and Petri asked the GAO to review how the FAA coordinates with NextGen agencies and private industry; essentially asking the GAO to outline stakeholder issues and challenges (GAO, 2011).

‍Budget Authorization and Appropriations

A key challenged faced by Congress is finding funding for the FAA and NextGen. The FAA has not had a long-term spending bill since 2007, posing difficulties for the FAA to engage in long term planning. One constant challenge faced by Congress is the consideration of user fees and push back from special interest groups (Lowe, 2012).

Aviation Security

Another challenge faced by Congress is governing aviation security. For example, Congresswoman Norton (2009) notes how the Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC essentially bans general and business aviation flights, despite the October, 2005 DCA Access Standard Security Program.

U.S. General Accounting Office

The General Accounting Office (GAO), is an independent agency responding to Congressional requests, generally related to how the federal government spends money. The GAO is led by the presidentially appointed Comptroller of the United States, the candidate selected from candidates proposed by congress. The Comptroller term is 15 years, and the GAO was started in 1921 (GAO, n.d.).
The GAO often motivates federal agencies to create objectives based upon GAO reports. For example, the opening salvo of a join FAA and NASA report (2011) specifically notes the report was written in response to a GAO recommendation for cross-agency coordination. The FAA itself cites the GAO as a stakeholder in NextGen (Whitley, n.d., slide 5).
The challenge faced by GAO is minimal compared to the challenge it presents to the FAA and NextGen: the information reported by the GAO can change the perceptions of the public, Congress, and the president and can directly affect NextGen priorities.


General Accounting Office [GAO]. (2011). NextGen air transportation system: Mechanisms for collaboration and technology transfer could be enhanced to more fully leverage partner agency and industry resources. Report Number GAO-11-604, Washington, DC.
General Accounting Office [GAO]. (n.d.). About GAO. Retrieved January 13, 2012 from
Gesell, L. E., & Dempsey, P. S. (2005). Aviation and the law. Chandler, Arizona: Coast Aire Publications.
Lowe, P. (2012). Happy Y2K12: Congress Dithers on FAA Reauthorization, while TSA Moves Slowly on New Lasp. AIN Online, January 2, 2012. Retrieved from
Norton, E. H. (2009). Statement for the record H. Res 508: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the general aviation industry should be recognized for its contributions to the United States. Author: Washington, DC. Retrieved from
Vision 100—Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act of 2003, P.L. 108-176. Retrieved January 11, 2012 from

Office of the President of the United States of America

In addition to the involvement of the President, several executive offices are involved with aviation.

Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is an office in the Executive Office of the President (EOP), established by Congress on May 11, 1976, with a broad mandate to advise the President on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs.
The OSTP's mission is set out in the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976. The act calls for the OSTP to serve as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the President with respect to major policies, plans, and programs of the federal government.

It further authorizes the OSTP to:
  • Advise the President and others within the Executive Office of the President on the impacts of science and technology on domestic and international affairs;
  • Lead an inter-agency effort to develop and implement sound science and technology policies and budgets;
  • Work with the private sector to ensure Federal investments in science and technology contribute to economic prosperity, environmental quality, and national security;
  • Build strong partnerships among Federal, State, and local governments, other countries, and the scientific community;
  • Evaluate the scale, quality, and effectiveness of the Federal effort in science and technology.
The OSTP handles a broad range of scientific and technological issues within the Executive Office of the President. The OSTP has approximately 45 staff members, most of whom are experienced scientists functioning as assistant directors or policy analysts.

National Aviation Research

In November 1999, The National Science and Technology Council published the National Research and Development Plan for Aviation Safety, Security, Efficiency and Environmental Compatibility. This plan describes coordinated long-term research initiatives to bring about advances in aviation that will be required in the opening decades of the 21st century. It is in direct response to the Gore Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, and was developed under the 1998 Memorandum of Understanding by the Federal Aviation Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Defense. The plan defines the nation’s civil aviation goals and demonstrates how federal agencies are accomplishing these goals. It lays out twenty-five roadmaps showing the relationship between research and operational actions to improve civil aviation. The plan also serves as a baseline for government and industry in building consensus toward an integrated aviation system of the future.


Executive Office of the President. (2012). The executive office of the president. Retrieved from:
Executive Office of the President. (2012). Office of science and technology policy. Retrieved from:
Federal Aviation Administration. (2012). About FAA. Retrieved from:
Kane, R. M. (2003). Air transportation (14 ed., pp. 127-134). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.
National Association of State Aviation Officials. (2012). About NASAO. Retrieved from:
Porter, R. E. (1997). Aviation regulation (pp. 109-117). Ormond Beach, FL: Porter Publishing.
Rhoades, D. L. (2008). Evolution of international aviation: phoenix rising (2 ed.). Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
Vasigh, B., Fleming, K., & Tacker, Y. (2010). Introduction to air transport economics. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
Wensveen, J. G. (2007). Air transportation: a management perspective (6 ed., pp. 55-60). Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

The OMB is part of the cabinet office and was initially established as a member of the Department of Treasury in 1921. Today, the OMB plays an important role in investment management and consultancy services that aid political members in achieving their priorities. The following is a list of the services provided by the OMB (Office of Management and Budget, 2012):
  1. Produce annual budgets
  2. Develop annual training guidelines and budget submission schedules
  3. Coordinates budget bills and prepares the final submission
  4. Administers the overall budget system
In terms of the OMB’s relation to the aviation sector, it performs a number of tasks that ensures order and uniformity. For example, the OMB along with the Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce publish and implement policies and regulations according to federal legislations in regards of responsibilities in various aviation related sectors such as the aviation weather services.


Office of Management & Budget. (2012). OMB Mission Statement. Retrieved from

‍Department of Transportation (DOT)/Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)


Issue One - Establishing Realistic Plans and Setting Expectations for NextGen

The Department of Transportation and the FAA have struggled with setting expectations for what can reasonably be achieved for NextGen implementation in the near, mid, and long term (Department Of Transportation, 2010).
Issue Two - Problems with ERAM
The $2.1 billion En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) program, intended to replace hardware and software at facilities that manage high-altitude traffic, has encountered significant software-related issues and the FAA has stopped testing to address the more than 200 problems identified so far (Department Of Transportation, 2010).

Issue Three – Funding Stability and Synchronization

Congressional budget battles and reauthorization funds still plaque the implementation plan. While Congress struggles to approve a budget for the FAA which includes the funds to continue to field NextGen, the synchronization required to field and operate the new and different elements of the system will continue to suffer (Federal Aviation Administration, 2011).

Issue Four - Maximizing Delivery and Implementation of RNAV and RNP Initiatives

New performance-based navigation routes and procedures required for NextGen, using Area Navigation (RNAV) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) specifications, have not been implemented by the FAA (Department Of Transportation, 2010).

Issue Five – Upgrading a System that Operates 24/7/365

The US Airspace system must remain in continual operation during the NextGen implementation process while hardware is upgraded, personnel are trained and new procedures are fielded with no compromise in safety (Department Of Transportation, 2010; Federal Aviation Administration, 2011).


Department Of Transportation (2010). Top Management Challenges (PT-2011-010). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved January 22, 2012, from
Federal Aviation Administration (2011). NextGen Implementation Plan. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved January 22, 2012, from

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Transportation Security Administration (TSA)


Issue One – Increase Participation on Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Cyber Security

While DHS’s collaboration is important in these two areas, the agency’s participation has been limited thus far (Government Accountability Office, 2011).

Issue Two – Increase Participation on JPDO Aviation Security Working Group

DHS has collaborated with the partner agencies as the co-chair of JPDO’s Aviation Security Working Group, but DHS’s participation here has been limited as well (Government Accountability Office, 2011).

Issue Three – Take Responsibility for JPDO Assigned Research Activities

JPDO has recommended that DHS be the agency with primary responsibility for 19 research and development activities and provide support for an additional 18. Many of these activities are related to baggage screening and other security functions, not air traffic management functions where FAA would be the implementer (Government Accountability Office, 2011).

Issue Four – Identity NextGen-related Research and Development Activities

DHS has not identified and aligned its NextGen-related research and development activities as it agreed to do in the formal agreement that established the roles and responsibilities of JPDO and the partner agencies and has not identified the budget figures associated with NextGen activities (Government Accountability Office, 2011)

Issue Five – Seek Greater Role in Cyber Security Planning

DHS does not participate in events related to Cyber Security planning either because it is not invited or because it does not choose to participate. Limited collaboration between DHS and FAA could result in conflicts in NextGen priorities and needs in the future (Government Accountability Office, 2011).


Government Accountability Office (2011). NextGen Air Transportation System (GAO-11-604). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved January 23, 2012, from

‍Department of Commerce

The U.S. Department of Commerce mission is to promote job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improved standards of living for all Americans by collaborating with businesses, universities, communities and workers. The department fosters innovation through research and development that is quickly introduced in the marketplace. To support environmental and economic health, the Department of Commerce provides management and monitoring of the nations assets and resources. The Department of Commerce consists of the following bureaus:
As national airspace modernization continues, many Department of Commerce Bureaus will be involved. An issue the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will need to address is conflict arising between personal wireless devices and air traffic technology onboard aircraft. Possible interference between devices will remain an important challenge for NTIA as technology rapidly advances.


About the Department of Commerce. (January 19, 2012). Retrieved from

‍Department of Defense (DOD)

“The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.”
The DOD consists of many branches that protect and defend America. As civilian air-traffic continues to increase and aircraft continue to fly higher, faster along more varying routes instead of legend airways, the DOD will be challenged to provide air protection without hindering growth. Further problems may arise between increased numbers of unmanned military and civilian aircraft operating in our crowded skies.

Currently, the DOD and the FAA are working with Raytheon to replace capacity-constrained, older technology systems at the FAA and DOD terminal radar approach control facilities and associated towers. This program called Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) is planning to install 11 major terminal radar approach control (Tracon) facilities by 2015.


About the Department of Defense. (January 19, 2012). Retrieved from

‍Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA was established on December 2, 1970 to consolidate in one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection. ( There are four primary areas of concern relative to the EPA and aviation:‍ Engine Emissions‍, Noise Emissions, Hazardous Waste, and Ground Operations.

Noise Emissions

In the past, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) coordinated all federal noise control activities through its Office of Noise Abatement and Control. However, in 1981, the Administration at that time concluded that noise issues were best handled at the State or local government level. As a result, the EPA phased out the office's funding in 1982 as part of a shift in federal noise control policy to transfer the primary responsibility of regulating noise to state and local governments. The Noise Control Act of 1972 and the Quiet Communities Act of 1978 were not rescinded by Congress and remain in effect today, although essentially unfunded.
One very early event substantially influenced EPA's role in reviewing other federal agency actions. It happened when the U.S. Department of Transportation refused to release agency comments on the environmental impact statement for the proposed Supersonic Transport. Congress took subsequent action. It added Section 309 to the 1970 Clean Air Act, which stated that EPA must comment on all EISs and that EPA's comments must be made public and would be transmitted to CEQ for action if the environmental impacts were "environmentally unsatisfactory.” Under this Clean Air Act mandate, EPA set up a structured program for reviewing and rating federal agency projects that continues to this day. The FAA has embraced environmental concerns as evidenced in significant policy ( policies/policy_guidance/envir_policy/).

Engine Emission Standards for Aircraft Gas Turbine Engines

EPA is proposing to adopt emission standards and related provisions for aircraft gas turbine engines with rated thrusts greater than 26.7 kilo newtons. These engines are used primarily on commercial passenger and freight aircraft. The proposed requirements were either previously adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), or agreed on at ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) in 2010. Included in the proposal are two new tiers of more stringent emission standards for oxides of nitrogen (NOx). These are referred to as Tier 6 (or CAEP/6) standards and Tier 8 (or CAEP/8) standards. The proposed standards would become effective for newly-manufactured aircraft engines beginning in 2013.

Aircraft - Related Organic Gases

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Transportation Air Quality (OTAQ) and the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Office of Environment and Energy (AEE) are pleased to provide the organic gas speciation profile for use in emission inventories of aircraft equipped with turbofan, turbojet, and turboprop engines fueled with kerosene-based jet-A fuel. The development of this profile is the combined work of both agencies, taking into account the most recent data sets available at this time. EPA and FAA have agreed to continue further development of this speciated organic gas profile as new scientific information becomes available. Because this effort is a "living" methodology, air quality practitioners should verify that they have the most recent version of the documents (by date and version number on the cover) and associated speciated profile before preparing an emissions inventory.
EPA is amending the existing emission standards for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) for new commercial aircraft engines. These standards are equivalent to the NOx emission standards of the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and thereby will bring United States aircraft standards into alignment with the international standards. These standards will go into effect on December 19, 2005 and they will apply to new aircraft engines utilized on commercial aircraft that include small regional jets, single-aisle aircraft, twin-aisle aircraft, and 747s and larger aircraft. [Final Rule: Control of Air Pollution from Aircraft and Aircraft Engines; Emission Standards and Test Procedures (published November 17, 2005)]
NextGen and Engine OEMs are paving ways to improve pollutants from aviation by optimizing performance and enroute navigation. Additionally, aircraft OEMs are employing hybrid designs to include composites in structures and components.

Hazardous Waste and Ground Operations

Another, less well-known aspect of the EPA that affects aviation operations is NEPA. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), signed into law on the first day of 1970, stands in stark contrast to other environmental legislation enacted in the 1970s and 1980s. Beginning with the Clean Air Act, passed in late 1970, environmental legislation became increasingly prescriptive, detailed, and complex. NEPA, on the other hand, was short, simple, and comprehensive. It established a national policy to protect the environment, created a Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and required that environmental impact statements be prepared for major federal actions having a significant effect on the environment. This simple Act can be compared to the current crop of environmental laws that take up hundreds of pages and generate bookshelves worth of regulations. With little statutory guidance, the newly created CEQ set about building a staff and staking out an agenda. CEQ's highest priority was to become the federal environmental policy arm. The environmental impact statement and annual report requirements were both lower priority.


Alm, A., EPA Journal - January/February 1988; NEPA: Past, Present, and Future;

‍National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

The NTSB is an independent “watch dog” agency. It is responsible for accide‍nt investigations occurring within the civil transport system. One realm of the NTSB’s responsibilities is investigating incidents that occur within U.S. federally controlled civilian airspace.
The NTSB is the primary investigating and reporting authority for civil accident investigations. The NTSB works with the FAA to collect data and vital information with respect to an accident’s occurrence. While the FAA remains the regulatory body, the NTSB has primary jurisdiction over all accident investigation related activities. The NTSB also acts as an appeals court for airmen, mechanics and other federally regulated aviation professionals.
If an aviation regulation, process, legislation or standard changes the NTSB must act as a reviewer and major stakeholder in all related matters. The FAA’s consideration of developing and implementing NexGen and the NAS has many implications for the NTSB.
NextGen can only be implemented and work effectively if the FAA collaborates completely with the NTSB. Factors relating to modernization, technology and procedures must be fully vetted and understood by stakeholders such as NTSB for greater visibility and accountability with regards to preventive measures as well as incident investigation. The advancement of NextGen and its many facets must be fully understood and considered within this organization.


‍National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

NASA is one of several U.S. government agencies that play a critical role in helping to plan, develop and implement NextGen. NASA's role is research and development of new ideas and technologies that will make NextGen a reality. NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) works to solve the challenges that still exist in the US air transportation system: air traffic congestion, safety and environmental impacts. ARMD supports research and development in advanced airframe, engine, emissions, air safety, and air traffic control technologies. Their goal is to develop technology that would enable airplanes to burn only half as much fuel by 2020 and at least 70% less by 2025, compared to one of today’s most fuel efficient aircraft, a Boeing 777 with GE 90 engines.
However, there is ongoing concern about the translation of NASA’s aeronautics research results into product and systems innovations that improve the air transportation system including the following:
  • NASA has no institutional responsibility or ability to directly implement technologies developed by the aeronautics program that makes the implementation depend on external customers, manufacturers, and the regulatory and operational arms of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
  • These external customers have exceedingly diverse goals and technical capabilities. The users range from highly sophisticated aircraft manufacturers to a federal government entity with limited incentives and technical capabilities to innovate.
  • Among federal R&D agencies, NASA supports a very broad range of activities—from basic research through demonstration of specific technologies.
In addition to these facts, NASA aeronautics officials also recognize that NASA’s aeronautics program faces an overriding management challenge: a lack of national consensus about the federal government’s role in civilian aviation generally and NASA’s role in aviation technology development in particular. Furthermore, Congress have reduced NASA’s aeronautics budget without communicating how the program should be scaled back. Unless it is guided by a clear strategy, other managerial advice is of little utility in helping meet the nation’s needs.


NASA (2011). Welcome to Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). Retrieved from
Banke, J. (2011). Flying Farther on Less. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Retrieved from

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) is the primary federal law which governs occupational health and safety in the private sector and federal government in the United States. It was enacted by Congress in 1970 and was signed by President Richard Nixon on December 29, 1970. Its main goal is to ensure that employers provide employees with an environment free from recognized hazards, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, excessive noise levels, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, or unsanitary conditions. Due to the difficulty of the rule-making process, OSHA has focused on basic mechanical and chemical hazards rather than procedures.
On August 7, 2000 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The purpose of the MOU is to enhance safety and health in the aviation industry. In the MOU, FAA and OSHA agreed to establish a joint team (FAA/OSHA Aviation Safety and Health Team) to identify the factors to be considered in determining whether OSHA requirements can be applied to the working conditions of employees on aircraft in operation (other than flight deck crew) without compromising aviation safety.
Unfortunately, the January 2001 change of administration in Washington led to lengthy delays implementing the MOU and, eventually, to a watered-down voluntary program that failed to attract participants.
For decades, flight attendants have suffered from the lack of occupational safety and health regulatory protections. Data obtained from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics through the year 2000 and for 2006 – 2009 show clearly that aircraft cabins are dangerous workplaces, with flight attendant injury/illness rates many times higher than those experienced by employees in private industry as a whole. Currently, the Association of Flight Attendants are working together with members of Congress and the Departments of Transportation and Labor to ensure that flight attendants will one day be granted the same legal and enforceable safety and health protections as other U.S. workers.


The Association of Flight Attendants (2011). FAA-OSHA Jurisdiction. Retrieved from
The United States Department of Law (2011). The Occupational Safety and Health Act. Retrieved from

Considerations for Law Enforcement

Law enforcement exists at many levels throughout both the domestic and international aviation fields. Aircraft are utilized in a multitude of missions to support all levels of law enforcement. One major area affected by future aviation trends and technology is airspace security.
Future airspace security needs will require shared situational awareness (Bolczak & Fong, 2008). Aviation security occurs at many levels such as; aircraft, baggage, people and airports. Sharing situational awareness of these levels in a unified security setting can help integrate law enforcement agencies to better disseminate and act on information. Enabling law enforcements agencies to share data more efficiently will allow the risks of hostile passengers and aircraft to be mitigated.
Another aspect of future aviation trends and law enforcement is the use of UAVs. Many governmental agencies such as the CIA, Border Patrol and local police utilize UAVs. The Border Patrol utilizes UAVs to successfully counter illegal drug and people trafficking operations (Bolkcom, 2004). Local law enforcement utilize UAVs to track persons of interest or to provide surveillance in hostile areas (Murphy & Cycon, 1998). Based on the great number of applications and agencies; integrating UAVs into the aviation network poses a great challenge.
The facets and avenues of NextGen development and its integration with law enforcement are very broad. To understand the scope one must ask the question: How do we make it all work nicely together?


Bolczak C Fong C V 2008 Center for Advanced Aviation Systems DevelopmentBolczak, C., & Fong, C. V. (2008). Share Situational Awareness to Meet Future Airspace Security Mission Needs. In Center for Advanced Aviation Systems Development. ICNS Conference (p. ). Bethesda, MD: MITRE.
Bolkcom C 20040628 Homeland Security: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Border SurveillanceBolkcom, C. (2004, June 28). Homeland Security: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Border Surveillance (RS21698). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.
Murphy D Cycon J 199811 Applications for mini VTOL UAV for law enforcementMurphy, D., & Cycon, J. (1998, November). Applications for mini VTOL UAV for law enforcement (). SanDiego, CA: Sikorsky Aircraft.
Murphy D Cycon J 199811 Applications for mini VTOL UAV for law enforcementMurphy, D., & Cycon, J. (1998, November). Applications for mini VTOL UAV for law enforcement ().

Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC)

The FFRDC has been active since World War II in order to meet government needs. However, the increase in demand among private and public sectors expanded the FFRDC’s role and is now providing research and development (R & D) services to the government, industry, and academia in a wide range of fields. They consist of either state or private university-run groups and their nationwide organizations are accepted by the U.S. government. The FFRDC have been providing numerous sectors with the following (Norman, 1986):
  1. 1. Unique knowledge and research services
  2. 2. Participation among industry and government members in various activities
The Aerospace Federally Funded Research is a member of the FFRDC and is sponsored by the department of Defense and U.S. Air Force to facilitate aerospace military related research projects. On the commercial and civilian side, the Center for Advanced Aviation System Development is sponsored by the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration to participate in related research fields and aid in the development of the aviation sector.


National Research Council. (1995). Aviation weather services: A call for federal leadership and action. Washington, VA: National Academy Press.

Norman, W. (1986). U.S. government recognizes new institutional form. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 4(1), 13. Retrieved from Proquest database.

‍Federal Advisory Committees

Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC)

This advisory committee, established in 1984, provides the FAA and the DOT with advice on U.S. commercial space transportation; including advice to the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (COMSTAC, 2011).

Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC)

The ARAC has a broad role within the FAA, providing guidance on the full range of the FAA’s rulemaking activity; providing the FAA direct feedback channels from approximately 55 stakeholders (FAA, 2010).
A document review of the ARAC indicates it addresses current issues, as tasked by the FAA. Issues related to NextGen are addressed by the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee (FAAC).

Future of Aviation Advisory Committee (FAAC)

The FAAC was formed April16, 2010 chartered with advising the DOT to ensure the competitiveness of U.S. aviation and its ability to address future transportation needs (DOT, 2010).
As a future orientated committee, FAAC provides recommendations steering the future of NextGen, such as a set of 23 recommendations made in December, 2010, some of which directly addresses NextGen implementation (DOT, 2010).

Research, Engineering, and Development Advisory Committee (REDAC)

The REDAC (also known as R,E&D) was chartered in 1988 with the responsibility to provide the FAA advice on aviation research and future technology. The R,E&D reviews and comments on aviation research grants, including air transportation centers of excellence (FAA, 2006).
The REDAC comments heavily upon research activity, particularly in Academia, related to FAA interests, including NextGen. In summarizing the 2011 committee work, nearly 75% of the recommendations made by REDAC were NextGen related. Examples of recommendations included issues of NextGen prioritization, complexity of NextGen issues, and development of technical expertise (REDAC, 2011).
The REDAC plays a pivotal role representing Academia stakeholders within the government, by reviewing and recommending the direction of future research grants.

Air Traffic Procedures Advisory Committee (ATPAC)

Established in 1975, the ATPAC provides advice to the FAA regarding air traffic control procedures (ATPAC, 2011a). While most of the ATPAC recommendations are on current issues, the committee members provide a conduit to pilots and air traffic controllers for review and buy-in of NextGen changes (ATPAC, 2011b).
The challenge to ATPAC is its continued existence during NextGen due to competition with other committees (ATPAC, 2011b).

Future Airport Capacity Task (FACT)

The FACT is team within the Airports Working Group (MITRE, 2009), as such it should be addressed by other government considerations within the wiki project.


RTCA is a federal advisory committee to the FAA, developing consensus-based recommendations in the areas of communications, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management. RTCA organized in 1935 and today includes 400 government, industry, and academic organizations. RTCA includes global participation since U.S. aviation issues are relevant worldwide (RTCA, n.d.a).
RTCA has a NextGen advisory committee tasked with creating a common understanding of NextGen priorities related to capabilities and implementation constraints, including prioritization criteria (RTCA, n.d.a).
An example product of the RTCA concerning NextGen was a September 29, 2011 report in response to an FAA request for recommendations on how to create incentives for aircraft investments in NextGen (RTCA, 2011). The RTCA was asked to first prioritize mid-term NextGen operations dependent on equipage, and then to recommend which user groups and/or aircraft types should be considered for incentives. The RTCA defined three NextGen operations dependent upon equipage: GPS RNP/.3 utilization; ADS-B Out; and ATC Data Link Communications. They then went on to point out the incentive options the FAA could use per group.
The purpose of the RTCA is to defined and address challenges. The top challenges faced by the RTCA are of course plotting a course for NextGen, as the September 29, 2011 report demonstrates.
A related challenge is defining air traffic control interoperability, for example between Europe’s SESAR and Japan’s CARATS (RTCA, n.d.a).
A review of RTCA special committees (RTCA, n.d.b) provides insight into current challenges. Special committee SC-225 is working on certification guidelines for small and medium sized rechargeable batteries. Special committee SC-217, addresses the development of requirements for airport moving map displays, a key NextGen vision, including data interoperability requirements (RTCA, n.d.c). Special committee SC-203, addresses unmanned aircraft systems operating in the national airspace system (RTCA, n.d.d).


Air Traffic Procedures Advisory Committee (ATPAC). (2011a). Air Traffic Procedures Advisory Committee (ATPAC). Retrieved January 13, 2012 from
Air Traffic Procedures Advisory Committee (ATPAC). (2011b). Minutes of ATPAC 140th Meeting. Author: Jacksonville, FL.
COMSTAC. (2011). Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC). Retrieved January 13, 2012 from
DOT. (2010). Future of Aviation Advisory Committee (FAAC). Retrieved January 13, 2012 from
Engineering and Development Advisory Committee (REDAC). (2011). Letter to Honorable J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator, FAA. Report of Committee.
FAA. (2006). Research, engineering, and development advisory committee. (FAA Order 1110.110C).
FAA. (2010). Aviation rulemaking advisory committee (ARAC). (FAA Order 1110.119M).
FAA; NASA. (2011). Next generation air transportation system: Human factors research coordination plan. Retrieved January 13, 2012 from
MITRE. (2009). Capacity needs in the national airspace system 2007-2025: Report on future airport capacity task (FACT).
RTCA NextGen Advisory Committee. (2011). What Types of Incentives should be used to Equip for NextGen? (Report). September 29, 2011.
RTCA. (n.d.a). RTCA website. Retrieved January 11, 2012 from
RTCA. (n.d.b). RTCA special committees. Retrieved January 11, 2012 from
RTCA. (n.d.c). SC-217 Terrain and Airport Databases. Retrieved January 12, 2012 from
RTCA. (n.d.d). SC-203 Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Retrieved January 12, 2012 from

‍Local Governments, Cities and States


In the earliest years of civil aviation, no federal money went to build or operate civil landing fields. Federal money was, however, spent to map and catalog the 980 airfields in the United States that had been built by 1918 with private funds. The government's main financial support for aviation came through the purchase of military aircraft and through the military airfields that the government had constructed, especially during World War I. The government also began airmail service in 1918.
As airmail grew, the U.S. government became more involved with airports. The Post Office began investing in air stations to support the transcontinental air route in the early 1920s. The Air Commerce Act, signed by President Calvin Coolidge on May 20, 1926, made it the duty of the Secretary of Commerce to “promote air commerce.” with provisions for: the licensing, inspection, and operation of aircraft; the licensing of pilots and of mechanics engaged in aircraft work; and the operation and extension of the airways system begun by postal authorities. The Act, however, specifically barred the use of federal money for building or maintaining airports. Despite this limitation, the growth of aviation encouraged by the Act led to more private airport development.
In September 1939, war broke out in Europe, prompting Congress to appropriate $40 million for Development of Landing Areas for National Defense (DLAND). Under DLAND, the Secretaries of War, Commerce, and the Navy approved expenditures for airports. Following World War II, 500 of these airports were declared surplus and turned over to cities, counties, and state sponsors to manage.
In 1944, CAA submitted a National Airport Plan that helped spark Congressional interest in meeting postwar airport needs. After debating the issue, Congress passed the Federal Airport Act, signed on May 13, 1946, by President Harry S Truman. The Act provided for $500 million in grants for airport projects paid over seven years. The maximum federal grant for an eligible project would provide half of the project's costs. Local airport sponsors would issue bonds to finance the rest of the cost. All projects had to meet CAA standards for location, layout, grading, drainage, paving, and lighting. Further, all tax money collected by local governments for aviation facilities or fuel had to go for airport operations and maintenance. Additional amounts were appropriated annually until 1970 when the Federal Airport Act was repealed, and the Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970, signed by President Richard Nixon on May 21, 1970, became law.
Title I of the Act provided for, among other things, $250 million annually for the “acquisition, establishment, and improvement of air navigational facilities” and security equipment for the next ten years. Title II created what was popularly called the “aviation trust fund,” financed by an eight percent tax on domestic passenger fares, a three-dollar surcharge on passenger tickets originating in the United States, a tax of seven cents per gallon on gasoline and jet fuel, a five percent tax on airfreight waybills, and an annual registration fee and charge per pound for aircraft.
Around the world, today's airports may be operated by a national airport authority or transportation department, local authorities, airlines, private owners, or contractors. In the United States, most funds for new airports come from the sale of bonds managed by a local authority or sponsor. In the last decade, about $45 billion of AIP money has been spent with about 80 percent going to airports with scheduled air service, though like earlier programs, there continues to be disagreements and even lawsuits over how to spend the aviation trust fund.


Department of Transportation. (2012). About DOT. Retrieved from:
Federal Aviation Administration. (2012). About FAA. Retrieved from:
Kane, R. M. (2003). Air transportation (14 ed., pp. 127-134). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.
National Association of State Aviation Officials. (2012). About NASAO. Retrieved from:
Porter, R. E. (1997). Aviation regulation (pp. 109-117). Ormond Beach, FL: Porter Publishing.
Rhoades, D. L. (2008). Evolution of international aviation: phoenix rising (2 ed.). Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
Vasigh, B., Fleming, K., & Tacker, Y. (2010). Introduction to air transport economics. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
Wensveen, J. G. (2007). Air transportation: a management perspective (6 ed., pp. 55-60). Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Build 2

Federal Sector Top Five Priorities (Next 5 years)

by Reef Al-Romaithi

‍Global‍ aviation authorities are experiencing common issues that are restricting their operations and expansion. Such issues may be a result of economic constraints and some may be a result of regulatory complications. The following are the top issues faced by global authorities:

  1. Pilot Shortage: Airbus and Boeing forecasted a significant increase in demand for aircraft over the next two decades with orders exceeding 33,000 aircraft. While Western governments such as in England and U.S. are not allowing foreign pilots to be employed by the local carriers due to security issues, regions such as Asia and Middle East are obliged to rely on foreign pilots. Asian operators in particular are experiencing a significant shortage, causing flight cancelations (David, 2005).
  2. NextGen: government officials are facing a number of challenges associated with the development of NextGen. These challenges are mainly associated with complex technological requirements and extensive numbers of stakeholders. The Federal Aviation Administration is also facing challenges with research required for NextGen implementations (Dillingham, 2008).
  3. Airspace Management: The steady growth of the airspace system is calling for a new structuring to maintain a steady and uninterrupted growth and operation. Being part of the NextGen program, airspace management is quite a difficult task to initiate and maintain. This is due to the complexity needed to reconfigure the aircraft with required equipments such as the Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B). Of course, new requirements impose new financial threats on airlines that ultimately result in a domino reaction leading to increases in airfares (Dillingham, 2009).
  4. Technological Advancements: Airbus, Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers are continuously developing new technology to meet regulatory requirements and assuage environmental standards. Such advancements call for new training programs and safety standards that government officials, as well as airlines must regularly monitor (Transport Canada, 2010).
  5. Airline budget, taxations and market constraints: European airlines have often been threatened by aggressive Middle Eastern airlines that have been increasing their daily frequencies to European destinations over the past decades. Despite the imbalance in market share between both regions, Middle Eastern airlines enjoy a tax-free operation in their base while carriers such as Air France, British Airways, and Lufthansa are struggling with tax payments. European governments are facing a strong airline union that is fighting for government collaborations against the encroachment of Middle Eastern airlines (Frost & Rothman, 2010). Canadian authorities and nations in the Indian subcontinents such as India and Pakistan are playing it smartly by applying constraints that limits Middle Eastern airlines to a certain number of frequency/passengers on weekly basis. This approach protects their local airlines and enhances the local economy.

Top Issues Facing Federal Authorities (Next 5 Years)

by Chris Broyhill

Issue 1 – Airspace Redesign

To take advantage of the efficiencies Nextgen will bring to air traffic control, the FAA must establish new performance-based navigation routes and procedures, using Area Navigation (RNAV) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) specifications (Department Of Transportation, 2010). The potential benefits of these routes and procedures include shorter, more direct flight paths; improved airport arrival and departure efficiency; enhanced controller productivity; fuel savings; and reduced aircraft noise and carbon emissions (Department Of Transportation, 2010). A key element of this process is the FAA’s Metroplex Project, an effort to “loosen key bottlenecks in metroplexes, the busy metropolitan areas where multiple airports and competing airspace lead to less-than-efficient operations” (Federal Aviation Administration, 2011, p. 14). The National Airspace and Procedures Plan detailed a list of 21 such areas along with an aggressive timeline to have all of them studied by the end of FY13, and a majority of Design and Implementation Teams are expected to be underway or completed by 2016(Federal Aviation Administration, 2010a). But as of December 2011, studies had only been completed at a total of seven sites with FAA focusing primarily on the development of a targeted number of procedures and not on measuring potential benefits to the users (Scovel III, 2011). Additionally, the FAA’s new flight procedures are mostly overlays of existing routes and do not provide shorter flight paths to alleviate congestion (Scovel III, 2011).

Issue 2 –Enroute Automation Modernization

En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) is a program to replace the 40-year-old En Route Host computer and backup system used at 20 FAA Air Route Traffic Control Centers nationwide and is central to NexGen implementation, helping to advance the transition from a ground-based system of air traffic control to a satellite-based system of air traffic management (Federal Aviation Administration, 2010b). The FAA originally planned to deploy ERAM to 20 en route facilities by the end of 2010 but during testing at ERAM’s initial operating site, FAA encountered significant software-related problems, including radar processing failures and handing off traffic between controllers (Department Of Transportation, 2010). As a result, FAA stopped ERAM testing in March 2010 to reexamine plans and develop corrective actions and now the agency is requesting $120 million for ERAM in its fiscal year 2012 budget request and now plans to complete ERAM in 2014—a schedule slip of 4 years (Scovel III, 2011). While the FAA remains confident it will overcome the issues with ERAM, continued problems with ERAM will also affect both the cost and pace of FAA’s other key NextGen efforts and will also affect FAA’s ability to develop trajectory-based operations and transition to a common automation platform for terminal and en route operations (Scovel III, 2011).

Issue 3 – Managing Design Specifications for Interoperability

In its NextGen implementation plan, the FAA admits the difficulty of ensuring communication and coordination across the many vendors and disciplines needed to make NextGen work, but does little to specify how it will insure that communication and coordination take place (Federal Aviation Administration, 2011). To ensure NextGen’s success, critical decisions must be made, to include

  1. Division of responsibilities to be delegated to pilots in the cockpit and to controllers and FAA ground systems for tracking aircraft;
  2. Level of automation needed to support division of responsibility, ranging from today’s largely manual flight management to a primarily automated system with little controller involvement; and
  3. Number and locations of air traffic facilities needed to support (Scovel III, 2011).

Issue 4 – Air Traffic Controller Staffing and Training

The FAA believes that the transition to NextGen will place stringent demands on its workforce (Federal Aviation Administration, 2011). Further, the agency estimates that it will need to hire and train nearly 11,000 new air traffic controllers by fiscal year 2019 to replace controllers hired after the 1981 strike who are now eligible to retire (Department Of Transportation, 2010). Yet in spite of the current and future demands, 26 percent of FAA’s controller workforce is currently in training, compared to 15 percent in 2004, creating the potential for fewer certified controllers in the workforce to control air traffic while providing on-the-job training for new controllers (Department Of Transportation, 2010). This lower experience level may have directly contributed to the 53% increase in the number of operational errors by air traffic controllers, 1,234 to 1,887, between fiscal years 2009 and 2010 (Scovel III, 2011).

Issue 5 – Ambiguous Guidance in Key Data Technology Issues to Facilitate NextGen Transition

Three critical programs to streamline efficient data sharing for airspace users face uncertainty in respect to what they will ultimately cost, when they will be completed, and what they will deliver:

  • Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B)– In order to avoid cost, schedule and performance shortfalls, FAA must:
    • Finalize requirements for capabilities to display traffic information in the cockpit;
    • Modify the systems controllers rely on to manage traffic;
    • Addresses broadcast frequency congestion concerns;
    • Implement procedures for separating aircraft; and
    • Assess security vulnerabilities.

These risks, if not successfully mitigated, could lead to cost, schedule, and performance shortfalls (Scovel III, 2011).

  • System Wide Information Management (SWIM)is the network structure that will carry NextGen digital information and will enable cost-effective, real-time data exchange and sharing among users of the NAS (Federal Aviation Administration, 2011).
    • FAA planning to implement SWIM in three segments but has only approved funding for the first segment at an estimated cost of $284 million;
    • FAA has already increased costs for the first segment by more than $100 million and delayed its completion by at least 2 years;
    • FAA has not established clear lines of accountability for overseeing how SWIM is developed and managed; and
    • Without a consistent vision of SWIM’s requirements and clearly defined program priorities, the true cost and timeline to deploy SWIM and the realization of expected benefits are unknown. (Scovel III, 2011)

  • Data Communications (DataComm)will enable digital air traffic control (ATC) information to be exchanged between controllers and pilots, and auto-loaded directly into aircraft flight management systems, decreasing the reliance on voice communication and significantly reducing opportunities for error (Federal Aviation Administration, 2011).
    • FAA plans to implement DataComm in at least two segments, and a final investment decision is not expected until fiscal year 2012;
    • Total program costs are uncertain but estimated to be almost $3 billion;
    • Developing and implementing DataComm is a complex, high-risk effort, and industry officials have expressed skepticism about FAA’s ability to deliver on such a program because the Agency abandoned a data link effort in the past due to cost concerns; and
    • Successful implementation of DataComm faces the challenges of integrating with FAA automation systems and overcoming users’ reluctance to equip (Scovel III, 2011).

Top Issues Facing Local Airports (Next 5 Years)

by Mond Buaphiban
Experts are predicting significant problems for U.S. airports in the coming years, with the demand from growth exceeding the capacity of available facilities and services. Contributing to this phenomenon will be the rising number of airline passengers and the decrease in the average size of planes. This latter fact is a function of the popularity of single aisle versus double-aisle aircraft and the increasing demand for regional jets. This fact facilitates market flexibility by providing air service where it is wanted. However, this overall decrease in the average size of airliners increases the number of planes. This increase will affect both the National Airspace System (NAS) and the airport systems, testing both of their abilities to handle the increase volume.

Virtually all commercial airports in the United States are owned by state or local governments. Yet, the elsewhere around the world, airports are becoming viewed more as a business enterprise opportunity and less as monopolistic public service. Governments in both developed and developing countries are turning to the private sector for airport development and management. Yet, it appears that the United States resists these types of airport reforms. One potential reason is that these state and local airports have received federal aid for development and construction for decades. Another important factor is that state and local governments can issue tax-exempt bonds to finance airports because they are government-owned facilities. Thus, borrowing can be done at a lower cost than borrowing by private airport owners issuing taxable debt.

All too many U.S. airports are still run in an old-fashioned bureaucratic manner, typical of the pre-deregulation era. Their management style is more passive and risk-averse than that of the world's privatized airports. The U.S. aviation sector could embrace the types of reforms being implemented around the world by privatizing airports and commercializing air traffic control (ATC) services supporting the NAS. Investor-owned airports and commercialized ATC companies can better respond to changing market conditions, and they can freely tap debt and equity markets for capital expansion to meet rising demand. Such enterprises also have greater management flexibility to deal with workforce issues and complex technology implementation. This concept was supported through detailed research by Oxford University scholars, showing that the management approach of privatized airports is significantly more "passenger friendly" than that of traditional airports. Simply put, passenger friendly is good business.

As previously mentioned, with the growing number of airplanes, the congestion of the NAS may threaten the decaying stability of airspace safety. Though the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has toiled for years to successfully implement NextGen, the price tag to the taxpayer and the aircraft operator potentially threatens its success. NextGen will also be yet another issue for the stated-owned airport; NextGen will require a major redesign of airports and the ATC support infrastructure. As described by the Congressional Budget Office: “The new system is designed to accommodate up to three times the volume of current air traffic by making more efficient use of both the national airspace and airport facilities.” Pushing the bill for NextGen and airport modifications to the air traveler and the taxpayer could ultimately be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Inflexible government funding sources tends to be static and subject to political considerations. Changes in aviation over the past decade have hurt the FAA's funding base, as a large part of the FAA funding comes from aviation excise taxes, especially the tax on airline tickets. As average ticket prices have fallen over time, airport funding has been squeezed.

Again, the solution appears too simple to gloss over, again. Privatizing the airport system, and possibly the NAS, would allow investors to take advantage of the changing conditions of the market, access private capital for investment, and act in a manor more expeditious and productive than the cumbersome bureaucracy of the Federal, State, or Local governments. However, the challenge ahead for the airports and the ATC system is more complex than just financial. NextGen will be a major paradigm shift, from 20th-century technology of manual air traffic control to the 21st-century technology of automated (but monitored) air traffic management. This quantum leap for the NAS will be more complex and riskier than any other challenge the FAA previously attempted.

Yet, like most of the world, antiquated infrastructure is a costly burden that will not go away, no matter how hard we wish for it to disappear. As with many other critical facets of our complex world, just asking the government to fix the problem and pay for it is not viable. Business is not necessarily always the cure-all for everything, but this unique problem of modernizing the NAS and the airports is a critical component of our national infrastructure which privatization just might be the answer. Regardless, the modernization is coming; embracing a palatable paradigm is far less painful and certainly will prove more productive.

In summary, much of the world is moving to the new paradigm of the airport as a for-profit enterprise; this is more consistent with a dynamic and competitive airline market. Viewing the national airport structure and the NAS as enterprise ventures would benefit from being self-funded, more efficient, and more innovative than the traditional, old-fashioned bureaucratic approach. The market would bear the brunt of progress, not the taxpayer. It is a viable solution whose time is upon us.

Privatizing of the ATC (Next 5 years)

by Jim Cistone

The FAA track record to date for implementing ground-based automation systems is poor. As Cistone (2004) reported, RTCA SC-31 recommended NAS modernization in 1948; ‍however‍, 64-years later, it still has not been implemented. There have been problems and large delays associated with every automation system developed and several have been cancelled outright. In the 1980s and 1990s, the FAA embarked upon an Apollo-like effort called the Advanced Automation System (AAS) that was essentially the NextGen of the 1980s. However, much of that system development was delayed and cost overrun, was terminated. Many of the current NextGen efforts are also behind schedule and overrunning cost by considerable margins (GAO, 2012).

The fact that Congress micromanages the FAA and that their recent budget authorization has taken over seven years and 23 continuing resolutions to pass is further cause for alarm. How can an agency transform the air transportation system of the United States with a funding stream that is unstable?

An alternative for the future is to have the FAA lease automation equipment for NextGen air traffic management from industry. This would allow the FAA help define the requirements that they need for their mission, and allow industry to build, buy or otherwise furnish the equipment and services necessary to meet those requirements, including a tech refresh package. This is similar to the Lockheed Martin FSS, except the ATC employees would remain under the FAA ATC, or a privatized ATC company.

This paradigm is similar to that provided by ITT under the ADS-B program, where ITT provides a service for ADS-B information. In the ATC case, the company or companies would furnish all equipment, signals, communications and services required to perform ATC.

While the above paradigm might solve the procurement problems that the FAA faces, the act of privatization of the ATC entity of the FAA provokes considerable controversy. Former head of OMB, Peter Orszag (2011), stated that privatized air traffic control systems are successfully operative in Canada and 11 other countries, and if applied to the FAA, would result in a faster and more successful implementation of NextGen. Poole and Edwards (2010) summarize the long controversy of FAA ATC privatization, but suggest that it would involve first a shift of payments for aviation services from the current system of aviation taxes to user fees or direct payments for services; second, user fees would allow revenue to grow in proportion to cost, and would provide a stable stream of funding; third, solve the FAA’s management problems allowing FAA to hire competitively with industry and to obtain the skill set necessary for successful management of ATC; and finally, the new ATC unit would be overseen and regulated by the governmental role of the FAA, which as it stands today is somewhat in conflict as the FAA is a regulator and service provider.

Others argue that transferring many of the FAA’s problems from government organization to a private business organization might not be the path to success, as the problems remain in both places and are not solved by the transformation. Many businesses fail. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA, 2011) addressed Orszag’s comparison to Canada by saying: “That’s ludicrous: the U.S. system handles half the world’s air traffic; U.S. federal controllers safely handle more than ten times as much traffic as the Canadian system.”

Barkowski (2010) offers a third choice: allow the ATC system to remain under the FAA control as an essential governmental function, but privatize the local commercial airports, which today are all owned by local government organizations. In this manner, Barkowski (2010) concludes:

  • To avoid this escalation of congestion, the socially efficient solution is for local governments to transfer these "high-density airports" to the private sector on the condition that private owners focus on eliminating congestion. The societal gains from eliminating congestion would outweigh any societal costs incurred from potential airport discrimination against airlines. As a result, airport privatization may be the proper catalyst for exploiting the full potential of NextGen. (p.2)

Technological Pace for Full Implementation by 2030

by David Freiwald


Many conclude that the transformation of the US air transportation system is not a matter of technological advances, but merely changes in policy and having the will to transform. While there is certainly truth in that statement, there are also technological challenges that are present. Perhaps one of the largest technological obstacles is the paradigm of control by exception; where the automaton system maintains control of the air traffic until an exception occurs, and the human is reengaged in the loop to solve the exception quickly. The human factors aspects of pulling a human back into the loop for a critical task is not well understood in air transportation, nor many other fields where automation is becoming more autonomous.

The integration of the partner agency missions NextGen is also a challenge. While agencies have interfaces, exchanged information, and worked together in the past, in NextGen their missions are integrated such that, for example, should a security event occur, the situation is quickly identified and appropriate responses are generated to neutralize the event and minimize the overall impact to the National Airspace System (NAS). Such integration is more than information sharing and cooperation.

The notion of having aircraft self-separate from other aircraft is practices today under visual meteorological conditions in selected cases; however, routine delegation of separation under instrument meteorological conditions for large numbers of flights is quite different than delegated separation and it requires extensive research to assure that it can be successfully accomplished in all cases.

As NextGen integrates aircraft, flight operations centers, and the air traffic service providers in a highly automated system that is distributed across those stakeholders, a highly complex, distributed system results. Validation and verification of such a complex system is beyond the state-of-the-art and requires research and analysis to assure that all components of the system are working together and correctly.

Finally, the ability of NextGen to scale and adapt to changing markets and demands is a daunting task. One envisions the use of intelligent systems that are self-adapting to permit NextGen to change scale, accommodate different classes of aircraft, and to meet changing demand. Such systems exist today in science fiction, but are far from reality.

There are several significant technological challenges facing the development of NextGen and research on these aspects should have started long ago. However, as described below, NextGen is off to a slow start.


In October 2009, U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel and U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Director of Civil Aviation Issues Gerald Dillingham told Congress that the FAA faced considerable challenges in implementing a satellite-based NextGen ATC system, ranging from delays in approving new procedures and technology to skepticism among airlines regarding investment in new equipment. Testifying before the House of Representatives aviation subcommittee, Scovel warned, "the cost, schedule and benefits for NextGen are uncertain". Dillingham added that the "FAA faces cultural and organizational challenges in implementing NextGen capabilities".

Both said the agency needs to move away from developing Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedures for airports that merely "overlay existing routes" and toward implementing procedures that allow more direct flight paths that will increase efficiency and lower fuel burn and carbon dioxide emissions. Dillingham said ATC system stakeholders have told GAO "that the process of approving and deploying RNP navigation procedures remains extremely slow and that the FAA's review and approval of a given original RNP design often takes years".

In June 2010, European and American authorities reached a preliminary agreement on interoperability between their future air traffic management systems, SESAR and NextGen. In March 2011, the FAA released the latest version of its implementation plan. As of July 2011, JetBlue and Southwest Airways had installed onboard equipment, partly with federal funds.

According to the FAA the agency is moving forward in a coordinated, integrated manner to deliver the capabilities necessary to enable the agency’s vision for NextGen. Several important milestones are at hand. This section highlights a few of the key NextGen advances the FAA will be working on over the next few years.


The FAA last year chartered an Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to provide a forum for the aviation community to define a strategy for incorporating Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) In technologies into the National Airspace System (NAS). ADS-B In capability, combined with a cockpit display, provides greater situational awareness to both high- and low-altitude operators by providing highly accurate traffic. ADS-B In further offers low-altitude users essential flight data such as weather and Special Activity Airspace (SAA) information. The ARC is composed of over two-dozen representatives from various aviation user groups, as well as segments of industry and government. Feedback provided by the aviation community in response to those recommendations will be incorporated into an ARC final report due by June 2012 that will detail suggested next steps.

The ARC’s work will set the stage for future ADS-B In applications, such as spacing and merging aircraft using flight deck interval management. This capability provides more precise aircraft-to-aircraft position information to the flight deck, enabling flight crews to line up their aircraft more efficiently on final approach, saving fuel and maximizing runway capacity. The FAA is currently working with industry on the initial development of flight deck interval management capabilities.


Data Communications (Data Comm) will enable digital air traffic control (ATC) information to be exchanged between controllers and pilots, and auto-loaded directly into aircraft flight management systems. This capability will decrease the reliance on voice communication and significantly reduce opportunities for error. On the ground, Data Comm will streamline departure clearances for aircraft sitting at the gate, and provide the ability to transmit revisions to those clearances. In the air, Data Comm will provide for the digital transmission of airborne reroutes. On arrival and landing, Data Comm will enable taxiway and gate assignment information to be sent directly to the flight deck.

A final investment decision slated for 2012 will enable the agency to contract with a vendor to provide the VHF radio network that will carry Data Comm messages. Also moving forward is the development of Controller Pilot Data Link Communications, the application that will facilitate the integration of Data Comm into ATC automation platforms and the aircraft flight deck.

Towers are expected to begin offering departure clearances with revisions to Future Air Navigation System (FANS) 1/A+ equipped aircraft by 2015. En route centers are expected to be able to start issuing airborne reroutes via Data Comm in 2018. This planning date has been adjusted out two years as we continue to weigh the complexity of integrating enhancements into the NAS as well as budget adjustments.


System Wide Information Management (SWIM) is the network structure that will carry NextGen digital information. SWIM will enable cost-effective, real-time data exchange and sharing among users of the NAS.

In October 2010, the Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS) became the first ATC system to share information via the SWIM interface. SWIM compliance means the weather information provided by CIWS to en route center traffic management units can now be made available to external users, such as airline operations centers, to create a common situational awareness. SWIM achieved the same milestone with the Integrated Terminal Weather System in January 2011. By 2015, all seven ATC systems targeted for SWIM’s initial implementation phase are expected to be SWIM compliant.

Throughout 2012, the SWIM program will continue the development work necessary to gather and share airport surface data via SWIM surface information in 2012. By 2013, the SWIM program expects to have standardized its core information delivery service, meaning that custom interfaces will no longer have to be built for programs seeking SWIM compliance.


The FAA is working closely with the Department of Defense (DoD) to improve information sharing on the status of Special Activity Airspace (SAA). Today, the DoD reserves large sections of airspace for mission purposes. Determining when that airspace is safely available for civilian use can be difficult. Being able to take advantage of unused SAA offers the potential to reduce congestion, particularly at peak times.

Between now and 2014, the FAA will continue working with the DoD and industry stakeholders to leverage evolving digital communication capabilities to increase awareness and predictability of SAA usage. Operators will be able to more reliably plan and use flight routes that cross inactive SAA without affecting DoD mission needs. By 2014, the agency plans to have SAA status information integrated into air traffic decision support tools.


Closely Spaced Parallel Operations (CSPO), or dual independent approaches to runways spaced fewer than 4,300 feet apart, hold the promise of getting more aircraft on the ground more quickly in adverse weather conditions.

The FAA is taking a phased, incremental approach to CSPO. Over the next several years, the agency will be working to use existing technology and procedures to improve the efficiency of closely spaced runways. As they move closer to the mid-term and beyond, the FAA will work to leverage advanced technology and Performance Based Navigation.


Two teams of FAA executives, the NextGen Management Board and the NextGen Review Board, constitute a governance structure that works to ensure that the capabilities that grow out of the NextGen portfolio are delivered in a timely, coordinated and cost-effective manner. The NextGen Management Board is chaired by the deputy administrator, the federal official with overall responsibility for NextGen. Composed of the heads of the FAA lines of business with primary responsibility for delivering NextGen, the Management Board provides executive oversight of NextGen progress and performance metrics, and makes strategic policy decisions that drive implementation forward. The Management Board is supported by the NextGen Review Board, which resolves cross-agency implementation issues and identifies and formulates positions on critical policy issues.

The NextGen progress made by the FAA, the goals the agency has set for itself, and the work plan we have committed to in pursuit of those goals are summarized in the NextGen Implementation Plan that is updated annually. The Plan pulls together NextGen information from a number of other key FAA documents. The result is a high-level overview of all the FAA’s NextGen planning and execution efforts in a plain-language document intended to inform a wide audience of NextGen stakeholders.


NextGen capabilities are not activated all at once. Before the FAA can deliver each new capability, a myriad of activities has to be accomplished, some of which include:
  • safety management system and risk assessments;

  • environmental management system and impact assessments;

  • demonstrations to ensure the capability delivers its intended benefits;

  • tests to determine how the capability affects the workload of FAA technicians, air traffic controllers and pilots;
  • training so that controllers and operators know how to use the capability;

  • identification, development and installation of needed infrastructure and software;

  • development and installation of new aircraft equipment, if needed; and

  • changes to orders and policies to conform to federal and international standards.

Economic Supportability for Full Implemetation by 2030

by Don Jackson

This truly is the $64 question! NAS modernization is no different than any other form of infrastructure in the US. This country has systematically neglected its infrastructure way too long. The bridge collapse of the St. Anthony Falls Bridge in Minneapolis, the bridge closures across the nation, huge potholes in freeways, not just secondary roads, but major arteries, rail beds that have been closed to disrepair, and waterways threatening breach and filled with silt. This country enjoys some of the finest domestic necessities anywhere in the world, but they do not want to pay for something until it fails. This had been referred to as blood safety-the need to make a change for better only after a catastrophic mishap occurs.

NAS modernization is no different. Most of America’s infrastructure is 1950’s vintage, an era when America was growing and the economy thrived along with the average American. Now, the economy is struggling, alongside average Americans. When America and Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck and the national debt is growing at alarming rates, does anyone consider the NAS worthy of scarce dollars? The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has estimated that the country needs to spend $1.6 trillion over five years (Sofge, 2008). Since the publishing of that article, the ASCE graded America’s infrastructure a GPA of “D” in their 2009 report card (ASCE, 2012). The ASCE report card for aviation is bleak! It scored a grade of “D” (ASCE, 2012).

Aviation’s rapid movement of goods and services, as well as its support of tourism, is critical to the economic vitality of the nation, and air travel is often chosen over other modes of transportation on the basis of convenience, time, and cost. Thus, the consequence of failure is severe. In a highly complex system like aviation, resilience is not simply a matter of technical or facility upgrades. Future investments must consider dynamic system changes, security, capacity, life-cycle facility maintenance, technology innovations, and redundancy (ASCE, 2012). In the face of recent FAA estimates that predict an annual 3% growth in air travel, the continuing delays in reauthorization of federal programs and updating of the outdated air traffic control system threaten the system’s ability to meet the needs of the American people and economy. To remain successful, the nation’s aviation systems need robust and flexible federal leadership, a strong commitment to airport infrastructure, and the rapid deployment of NextGen. Additionally, the ASCE propose these solutions:

  • Modernize the air traffic control system by implementing the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) program;
  • Increase the aviation user fee to meet the needs of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS);
  • Increase the Passenger Facilities Charge (PFCs) cap;
  • Use Airport and Airway Trust Fund balances for air traffic and airport infrastructure and improvement projects only, not security costs;
  • Prevent trust fund revenues from being diverted from aviation transportation system investment by preserving current firewalls;
  • Close the gap on annual funding shortfalls by increasing funding guarantees in the reauthorization;
  • Streamline the regulatory environmental permitting process to reduce delays in constructing new or upgrading existing airport facilities.

On January 3, 2012, House Resolution 658 passed, amending “amend title 49, United States Code, to authorize appropriations for the Federal Aviation Administration for fiscal years 2011 through 2014, to streamline programs, create efficiencies, reduce waste, and improve aviation safety and capacity, to provide stable funding for the national aviation system, and for other purposes.”

Specifically, Ҥ 48103. Airport planning and development and noise compatibility planning and programs:

  • (a) IN GENERAL.—There shall be available to the Secretary of Transportation out of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund established under section 9502 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make grants for airport planning and airport development under section 47104, airport noise compatibility planning under section 47505(a)(2), and carrying out noise compatibility programs under section 47504(c) $3,350,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2012 through 2015.

Whilst this authorization is long overdue, this $3.35Billion falls incredibly short of the funds necessary to realize NextGen. ASCE’s report card on aviation reports the required amount at $87Billion, as shown in figure 1 (FAA, 2008).

Figure 1. Estimated 5-Year Funding Requirements for Aviation.

This estimate was given to Congress in 2008; much has changes in four years. The cost of every aspect of construction and innovation continues to climb. One can legitimately fear the historical repeat of projects uncompleted due to funding.

Considerations For Cooperation With International Agencies By 2030

by Harold Townsend

As globalization continues, cooperation among international agencies is imperative. While the exact arrangement and alignment of agencies in 2030 cannot be known, the need for cooperation between them is readily apparent. As shown in Government Build 1, many agencies are involved in the aviation industry while the Global wiki highlights many issues involved with globalization. As the industry continues to evolve, becomes more complex and traffic density increases, a single entity to coordinate international cooperation must be either developed or identified.

A large component of international agency cooperation is currently found with the United Nations Specialized Agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The ICAO vision and mission is: “The ICAO or International Civil Aviation Organization is the global forum for civil aviation. ICAO works to achieve its vision of safe, secure and sustainable development of civil aviation through the cooperation of its Member States” (ICAO, 2012). Currently ICAO consists of 191 member states (ICAO, 2012). It was created in to “promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection” (ICAO, 2012).

Without international cooperation, aviation growth will be hindered. By increasing membership with ICAO and continuing the dialogue between member states, ICAO can be the vital medium for cooperation among international agencies.

Federal Workforce Skills Adaptions For NextGen Implementation

by Bill Tuccio

While the FAA is a clear focus of the workforce related to NextGen, briefly understanding the composition of the federal workforce is important. Table 1 shows the major categories of federal workers, along with trends in the period 1994 to 2004. The table shows by far the executive branch, which includes the DOT. It is by far the largest sector of the federal workforce, with over 1.2 million employees. Table 1 does not include federal contractors and grantees, which are estimated to number over 10 million.

Table 1

Federal Workforce Trends 1994-2004

Note: Numbers in thousands. From C. Copeland, 2008, The federal workforce: Characteristics and trends, p. 4.

Focusing on the FAA, in their Destinations 2025 document (FAA, 2011a), the FAA notes NextGen is a transformation towards “a cognitive based aviation control system” (p. 5) and will require a collaborative work environment. Further, the shift in oversight perspectives with Safety Management Systems (SMS) changes the roles and skill sets of employees.

To meet these needs, the FAA’s strategies include fostering a collaborative work environment with tools and training; effectively and competitively recruit employees; effectively use knowledge management systems, including social networking, to foster employee engagement and innovation; and partner with academia in order to enhance the FAA applicant pool (FAA, 2011a). These plans are consistent with the goals expressed in other FAA documents (FAA, 2011b).

In a similar way to the FAA, the relatively small NTSB names organizational excellence as a key strategic goal through the 2015 timeframe. To meet this goal, it makes a commitment to individual employee development plans aligned with other strategic goals of the organization. Part of the goal is to foster an “environment of continuous improvement and lifelong learning” (NTSB, 2010, p. 38). Notably, the strategic plan does not mention the FAA NextGen plan or SMS.

In general, the federal workforce will need to be adept in protection of technology infrastructure under the general topic of cybersecurity. President Obama calls cybersecurity one of the most serious economic and national security concerns of our country (GAO, 2011). In a review of cybersecurity policies of eight government agencies, including the DOT and DOD, the GAO recommended the development of cybersecurity workforce planning. This GAO recommendation includes workforce training as well as information technology policies.

In general, it is unclear what the future will hold in the pendulum between federal workforce jobs and contractors, also stated as public and private sector jobs. For example, the Obama administration created a policy of insourcing to convert private (contractor) jobs to federal (public) positions in an effort to save money (Goure, 2011). It is conceivable that future presidential elections and parties could pursue outsourcing, tilting the balance from public back to private jobs. This mixed set of federal resources impacts the way work is accomplished and how knowledge is managed in the government in general, and NextGen specifically.


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