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Work By NetJets, FAA to Refine NextGen Procedures, Will Benefit Industry

March 27, 2015

NetJets and the FAA have formed a five-year partnership to implement and refine procedures for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), and the Ohio State University (OSU) Center for Aviation Studies will support portions of this effort by analyzing the data that the FAA/NetJets effort produces.

"We are in the first step of this agreement, which is developing a work plan with the FAA," said Bob Tanner, NetJets vice president of government and industry affairs. The plan will target specific procedures at designated airports that meet the FAA's needs and NetJets' schedule.

The FAA has begun implementing its NextGen air traffic management procedures at 21 metroplexes nationwide. The partnership will study the routes and procedures to and from the airports in the metroplex airspace to improve flight efficiencies, which will optimize flight times, fuel consumption and emissions. Given the business needs of its fractional owners, a large percentage of NetJets' 350 to 450 daily flights are destined for airports within metroplexes.

Equally important is the NextGen capability of the NetJets fleet, said Tanner. Two years ago, the company began taking delivery of new aircraft. The company ordered up to 670 new aircraft in an effort to turn over the fleet in the next decade, "all of them with state-of-the-art avionics for NextGen capability, and that got the FAA really excited."

To date, 62 aircraft in NetJets' "Signature Series" – a mix of Embraer Phenom 300s and Bombardier Challenger 350s and Global Express 5000/6000s – are now flying. "We take delivery of one or two new aircraft every week," noted Tanner. The Challenger 650 will join the NetJets fleet this summer, the Cessna Latitude next summer, with the Global Express 7000/8000 to follow later.

As NetJets welcomes new aircraft, it retires members of its legacy fleet.

Beyond its NextGen capabilities, NetJets is looking forward to continuing the partnership it started with the FAA in 2008, when it equipped 10 Hawkers to help the FAA evaluate its initial NextGen strategies, said Tanner. In the current partnership, OSU will apply predictive analytics to FAA data to develop proactive solutions to identified impediments such as holiday travel surges.

"This continues and builds on the collaborative process where the FAA works with industry to identify and develop operational efficiencies," said Tanner.

"We welcome NetJets' involvement in the testing of NextGen procedures," said Bob Lamond, NBAA's director of air traffic services and infrastructure. "The diversity of the company's fleet, plus the many destinations to which NetJets aircraft fly, will help give the FAA more real-world data that can be used to refine the proposed procedures so that all of business aviation will benefit."