NextGen Air Traffic Control Encounters Turbulence
A House subcommittee was the setting for the release of the bad news last week by Calvin L. Scovel III, inspector general for the Department of Transportation. According to Halsey, Scovel told the committee that, "Software problems have put the multi-billion dollar En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) program four years behind schedule and $330 million over budget."
ERAM is the cornerstone of, "the biggest aviation investment in U.S. history, the revolutionary Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen)."
"With the volume of air traffic projected to almost double during the next two decades, NextGen would replace radar tracking with Global Positioning Satellites (GPS), allow more direct routing that would save time and fuel, and provide pilots and controllers with more precise data about the distance of one plane from another," notes Halsey.
"We view NextGen as one of the most important infrastructure investments for our nation," John D. Porcari, deputy secretary of transportation, told the House panel. "This is a system of systems, so it's very complex implementation. This [also] is a U.S. technological leadership issue."