The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched the Metroplex initiative in Florida airspace to enhance approaches and descents in the region’s airports through a satellite-based NextGen air traffic control (ATC) system.
According to the agency, the initiative is part of its NextGen programme to enhance safety and efficiency of operation, while lessening aircraft emissions for passengers, ATC and airlines flying into and out of airports in the region.
FAA administrator Michael Huerta said that the NextGen Metroplex initiative is the result of public and private sector collaboration to deliver benefits for the flying public, the aviation community and the national economy.
"The end result for travelers will be fewer delays, quicker flights and an even safer, greener flying experience," Huerta said.
Based on performance-based navigation (PBN), Metroplex initiative allows pilots to fly planes using radar, satellite or the on-board flight management system, and after being operation it will enhance air traffic flow into and out of Florida’s airports.
FAA revealed that PBN will enable shorter, more direct routes that reduce flight time and fuel consumption and result in less carbon emissions.
JetBlue Airways CEO and president Dave Barger said: "These new procedures will increase traffic flow predictability, while reducing our environmental impact, allowing us to provide more efficient travel for customers."
Optimised profile descent (OPD) methods will be created and employed into the airports, allowing pilots to idle engines during aircraft landing.
Separate flight tracks will be created for departures and arrivals to enable smooth aircraft climb and descent.
The project also involves the development of new satellite-based procedures for reliever airports in addition to the creation of routes, which will allow general aviation traffic to fly more efficiently through congested airspace.
It is anticipated that the implementation of Metroplex will result in about 5.4 million fewer nautical miles into and out of Florida per year resulting in eight million gallons of fuel saved and nearly 80,000t reduction in carbon emissions.
The collaboration includes the FAA, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, JetBlue Airways, American Airlines, US Airways, NetJets, as well as other aviation stakeholders together with business and general aviation interests.
Image: The initiative is expected to improve safety and efficiency, while lessening aircraft emissions and congestion in Florida’s airports. Photo: courtesy of Houston Airport System.