NextGen: Sorely Needed But Risky

The day after the FAA released its new forecast indicating U.S. airlines will carry a billion passengers annually by 2021, the DOT inspector general told a congressional subcommittee that schedule delays and cost overruns of a crucial tool may delay it.

The Federal Aviation Administration produces an annual forecast of air travel for the ensuing 20 years. FAA's forecast for 2011-2031, released Feb. 15, predicts air travel will more than double during that period: U.S. airlines will carry a billion passengers annually by 2021, two years earlier than previously estimated, the forecast says. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood responded by saying the predicted growth shows why the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) is sorely needed.

The next day, DOT's inspector general, Calvin L. Scovel III, told a congressional subcommittee that schedule delays and cost overruns of a crucial tool may delay NextGen, which he said has been described by the FAA itself as one of the most complex systems ever developed by the federal government.

The tool is the $2.1 billion En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) program, which will process en route flight data. ERAM is "fundamental" to achieving the mid- and long-term benefits foreseen for NextGen, but testing at initial operating sites in Salt Lake City and Seattle "revealed significant software-related problems that have pushed schedules well beyond original completion dates and increased cost estimates by hundreds of millions of dollars," Scovel said, according to the text of his remarks.

Three of five NextGen technologies for changing the way air traffic is managed must integrate with ERAM, he added.

Scovel also discussed a lack of coordination between FAA and partner agencies, including NOAA in the Commerce Department. FAA and Commerce haven't agreed on how to synchronize national applications of observed, forecast, and disseminated weather data, which could delay the NextGen weather data system beyond its planned 2013 completion date, he said. And he said FAA has not developed a cross-agency plan to identify and address NextGen human factors issues -- such as how highly automated systems will affect its air traffic controllers.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch in 2019

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January 2019


      Production vs. Safety 
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
      The State of Contractor Safety
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue