A comparison of the proposed plans to reform the US ATC system has been conducted by the Department of Transportation Offices of the Inspector General (DOT OIG) and a new report has been issued highlighting the impact these are likely to have on the NextGen modernisation program.
A reform of the ATS structure in the US, due to the size and complex nature of its airspace – which is up to 2.5 times the size of that in the UK – could make the implementation of NextGen initiatives difficult.
Comparisons were made with the UK, Canada, Germany and France and the US has more GA aircraft in operation than all four of these countries combined. The creation of an independent ANSP, a part of the reform plans, could cause further, potentially catastrophic delays to the NextGen program.
Other countries, such as Canada, will be using a multi-phase process for the implementation of Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC), but the US will be looking at a full-scale modernisation, developing new technology and not modifying current products, which other countries and ANSPs will do, forming partnerships and using private companies to meet their requirements.
CPDLC will revolutionise current aviation ATC, centralising these vital processes as the world’s air traffic increases. The NextGen initiative is designed to make ATC more efficient and will open up new tracks to further increase this efficiency.
Congress and the aviation industry in the US are in talks to find a solution.