Assistant Administrator for NextGen went to North Carolina to explain the benefits of the tax dollars which have been spent to install and implement this new air traffic system.
Gen. Bolton enumerated the pluses which these technical upgrades will bring to the CLT Metroplex airspace:
- “…the changes in Charlotte will result in 28,000 fewer metric tons of carbon in the air each year, which is equivalent to removing more than 5,000 cars from the road.”
- “Airlines will consume 3.3 million fewer gallons of aircraft fuel, valued at about $9.4 million.”
- CLT has a complex set of taxiways and runways; the City, FAA and NASA are developing complex computer algorithms to optimize that sequencing which will reduce delays.
- “Charlotte is among the first airports to use Data Communications, which operates much like text-messaging between air traffic controllers and flight crews for routine communications such as clearances, instructions, advisories, and flight crew requests. Data Comm enhances safety by enabling controllers to give more timely and effective clearances. Better communication improves controller and pilot productivity, which enhances airspace capacity and reduces flight delays. Air traffic controllers currently use radio voice communications to give clearances and other flight information to pilots.”
The CLT story, when completed, will deliver the following benefits:
- $9.4 Million
- Value of Fuel Savings
- 3.3 Million Gallons
- Fuel Savings
- 28.0 Thousand Metric Tons
- Carbon Savings
To help the audience, NC taxpayers and passengers who fly through American Airlines #2 hub, the FAA produced this video, “Charlotte – First in flight, now leading the way with NextGen“:
As noted in The Charlotte Observer, “some critics have complained about the pace of the project’s roll-out.” In anticipation of such a contrary view, Lorne Cass, vice president of American Airlines’ Integrated Operations Center participated in the news conference. His quote is quite supportive:
“For us it’s a very complex airport because of the physical layout,” said Lorne Cass, vice president of American Airlines’ Integrated Operations Center. Charlotte Douglas is American’s second-busiest hub.
“When you’re running a lot of airplanes in and out on the ground at the same time, sometimes the surface environment is not as efficient as we would like it to be,”
Mr. Cass is truly an expert on the art and science of ATC. His experience encompasses both several airlines (AA, NW and DL) and the FAA (Director of Airport Surface Efficiency, Air Traffic Organization). His quote comes with substantial credibility.
NextGen is a technology, acquisition, installation, training, verification and funding challenge. Congress and the industry are skeptical about its value proposition. Bringing this sort of hard data to the populace of Charlotte, North Carolina and beyond may help with the pending political authorization and appropriation decisions.