NextGen faces new squeeze on budgets

The NextGen programme to overhaul US air traffic control will be hit hard under the President’s fiscal year 2015 budget request, according to industry body Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), writes Aimée Turner.

The AIA warns that the March 4 budget represents a cut of almost 20 per cent from the amount proposed just two years ago and that the drop of $65 million in funding since the last fiscal period will pose new obstacles to meeting the 2018 mid-term programme objectives.

“While AIA and our member companies recognise the austere budget environment requires continued efforts across government to trim spending, our industry remains concerned at the trend toward year on year reductions to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) modernisation budget,” said the AIA in a statement.

“The economic benefits of the NextGen programme far outweigh the nominal budget gains that would be realised if the proposed cuts are enacted. Safety, the environment, America’s future competitiveness and numerous other benefits afforded by NextGen remain at risk if the programme continues to be funded at shrinking levels.”

The AIA is urging a renewed commitment to NextGen as Congress takes up the President’s budget request.

It added that the extremely tight budget also poses significant challenges for manufacturers responding to a growing aviation marketplace in terms of meeting requirements for FAA certification increase to accommodate global aviation growth and the integration of unmanned systems into national airspace. “This underscores the criticality of FAA implementing certification streamlining reforms endorsed by Congress in 2012, as well as the expansion of Organization Delegation Authority wherever feasible and safe,” said the AIA.

AIA said it would work with Congress, the FAA, and other aviation stakeholders during this year’s appropriations process to ensure that the agency has the right amount and balance of resources to meet today’s needs and invest for the future growth.

Posted in CAAs/ANSPs, News, NextGen

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