The Next Generation Air Transportation, more commonly known as NextGen, is a new program that will equip the airline industry with Global Positioning System (GPS) devices for tracking planes and flight routes. The satellite-based GPS network will replace the current 60-year-old radar-based system.
The switch from radar to GPS will create a more advanced and more efficient airline industry. With GPS, airlines will be able to track the exact location of their planes. Instead of taking an indirect route so planes can remain close to towers, pilots can fly a direct route to the desired destination. Direct routes will cut down on delays, cancellations and diverted flights. Also, the GPS network will allow planes to fly closer together, increasing the number of planes in the sky at once. Most importantly, airlines will be able to save money by reducing fuel costs.
Similarly, passengers will also benefit from airplanes using the GPS network. Passengers will experience shortened flights, less waiting for takeoff or landing and less delays. Additionally, there is the possibility of cheaper plane tickets since airlines have lower costs.
The real-time GPS tracking will be funded by the federal government and the airline industry who will split the estimated 29 to 42 billion dollar program. The project is the largest civil aviation investment ever. The current goal for NextGen is to have all equipment, software and training completed by 2025.