The Fix That Could Change Air Travel

belal-el-atari-nextgenAir travel has grown and grown since its dawn with the Wright brothers. Airplanes, both public and private fly across countries and across the world each and every day. It’s not longer an uncomfortable journey to get from point A to point B, and now you can get there in a fraction of the time as you used to get there. Whether its cargo ships holding consumer goods from China, or happy couple vacationing to their honeymoon in Hawaii, planes rule the sky, but how much room is there for improvement.

To give you a better idea of the daily rate of flying and the atmosphere of the sky in regards to air traffic, I have laid out a few statistics below:

  • 27,000 flights a day across the globe
  • Nearly 50,000 tons of cargo is transported
  • 2.1 million passengers served (enough to fill the Rose Bowl about 23 times)
  • 580,000 workers — from pilots to flight attendants to rampers to mechanics — employed by the U.S. airline industry

To be quite frank, the air traffic control systems currently in place need a re-boot, and they need it bad. The systems being used are old and technologically obsolete compared to the GPS systems located in your center console of your car. Although the system is fairly safe there are ways to improve efficiency, convenience, and dependability.

“NextGen — a 21st century GPS satellite-based system — would make air travel more efficient, dependable and convenient. It would reduce flight delays, cancellations, aircraft noise and emissions. Real-time information between airports and aircraft would provide a better travel experience. And here’s the thing: This technology has been available for years, yet we’re stuck in a holding pattern, if you will, just waiting to land.” (

Where it stands now the push for NextGen is not for lack of wanting, but instead there are structural and financial obstacles. There would need to be significant changes in governance, funding, and accountability for NextGen to revolutionize air travel for the future.

Hopefully in the near future the proper changes will be made and motions will be set to establish NextGen as the official air traffic GPS system. The technology will have countless benefits and improve air travel experiences immediately.


Thank you for reading!

-Belal El-Atari