FAA looks to more populated skies
The Federal Aviation Administration says air traffic will more than double in the next 20 years and that airline will reach the two billion passenger mark two years earlier than previously anticipated.
"The FAA 20-year forecast predicts the number of passengers traveling on U.S. airlines will increase by 3.5 percent from last year to 737.4 million passengers in 2011. That figure is projected to grow an average of 2.8 percent each year during the remaining forecast period to 1.3 billion by 2031," said the organization in a statement.
Takeoffs and landings at airports within the FAA's oversight will also grow at 1.6 percent a year, but activity will slightly decrease this year. By 2031, takeoffs and landings will total 69.4 million.
According to Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, these numbers only make implementing the NextGen program even more necessary. A proposed $192 million budget cut to the FAA next year has been floating around the U.S. House of Representatives, but it's been reported that the cut won't hurt NextGen's chances of success.
“We need to invest in aviation today to make sure America’s economy remains competitive,” LaHood said in a statement. “Innovative NextGen technology will help meet the demands of the future by getting passengers to their destinations safely and more quickly.”