FAA, JetBlue sign NextGen agreement for East Coast, Caribbean routes

WASHINGTON, 7 Feb. 2011. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that the FAA and JetBlue have signed a Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) agreement that will allow the airline to fly more precise, satellite-based flights from Boston and New York to Florida and the Caribbean beginning in 2012. NextGen is the transformation of the U.S. national airspace system from a ground-based system of air traffic control to one based on satellites, which will enhance safety and reduce aviation congestion.

Posted by John McHale
WASHINGTON, 7 Feb. 2011. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that the FAA and JetBlue have signed a Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) agreement that will allow the airline to fly more precise, satellite-based flights from Boston and New York to Florida and the Caribbean beginning in 2012. NextGen is the transformation of the U.S. national airspace system from a ground-based system of air traffic control to one based on satellites, which will enhance safety and reduce aviation congestion.
Under the agreement, as many as 35 of JetBlue's A320 aircraft will be equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B)avionics over the next two years, enabling them to fly in two major routes off the East Coast even if traditional radar coverage is not available. The improved accuracy, integrity, and reliability of aircraft surveillance under ADS-B will allow JetBlue to take advantage of these routes at all times since the satellite-based system tracks the precise position of aircraft.
The FAA has agreed to pay $4.2 million for the ADS-B avionics. JetBlue will provide flight operations, pilots, and aircraft maintenance and will pay for the cost of aircraft downtime while the ADS-B avionics are installed. JetBlue will also fund the necessary training for dispatchers and flight crews, including simulator time. The airline will demonstrate the cost savings of ADS-B technology and potentially equip the rest of its A320 fleet at its own expense with ADS-B avionics.
The agreement will also allow JetBlue to fly a new route to the Caribbean, and could lead to the development of two new, shorter ADS-B-only routes to the Caribbean from Boston, New York, and Washington. The FAA will collect valuable NextGen data by observing and conducting real-time operational evaluations of ADS-B on revenue flights.
"NextGen will help improve the travel experience for passengers and give airlines more flexibility to find the most efficient way to reach their destinations," says FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "This agreement will allow us to collect important data to further demonstrate the benefits of NextGen."

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