PASS Testifies Before House on NextGen: RNAV/RNP


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Tom Brantley, president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS) testified today before House lawmakers to highlight concerns regarding NextGen: Area Navigation (RNAV)/Required Navigation Performance (RNP), which will incorporate new Performance-Based routes and procedures to enhance system capacity and reduce environmental impacts and fuel costs.

RNAV allows aircraft to employ a global positioning system to fly any desired flight path without the limitations associated with ground-based navigation. RNP is the same as RNAV but also includes an onboard performance monitoring and alerting capability. Both components are critical to the design and installment of flight paths and play a vital role in the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).

In his testimony, Brantley cautioned lawmakers that in order to safely and efficiently realize the new capabilities that will be provided by RNAV/RNP, the FAA must develop a plan for the safest and most cost-efficient way to proceed that will protect the safety of the aviation system. "It is generally accepted that the use of new Performance-Based routes and procedures has great potential to enhance system capacity and reduce environmental impacts and fuel costs," said Brantley. "However, a lack of clear guidance and leadership from the FAA has led to conflicting ideas among industry, FAA and even congressional proponents as to how these benefits can best be realized."

Current administration regulations and directives provide for third-party development of special-use operational and approach procedures, which do not have to be fully integrated into the National Airspace System (NAS). "PASS feels that any policy change to allow third-parties to develop public-use RNP procedures would be misguided," said Brantley. "PASS believes this safety-critical work to be inherently governmental and it should not be outsourced to private vendors."

An agenda supported by many in the aviation industry and advanced by some members of Congress is to set quotas for the production of new RNP procedures without regard for the feasibility of such a plan. "We believe that quotas are unrealistic, unfeasible, and not based on potential safety, capacity and operational benefits to the overall NAS," said Brantley. "Moreover, it seems that the drive to create incentives for industry to equip with new technology to realize benefits as soon as possible may lead to unintended problems that could actually slow the realization of those benefits."

The FAA believes it needs to take a strategic approach to RNP procedures development and any corresponding airspace redesign work that is required to deploy those procedures. "PASS agrees with this approach and stands ready to work with the FAA to decide the most efficient and safest way to develop, perform quality assurance and flight validate, implement, and maintain these procedures."

For more information or questions, please contact Kori Blalock Keller at (202) 293-7277 x110.


For 36 years, PASS has represented more than 11,000 employees of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense who install, maintain, support and certify air traffic control and national defense equipment, inspect and oversee the commercial and general aviation industries, develop flight procedures and perform quality analyses of the aviation systems. For more information, visit the PASS website at

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