Things With Wings

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  • President Obama and NextGen
    Posted by Andrew Compart 6:00 PM on Jul 22, 2011

    President Obama gave a shout out to the NextGen air traffic control system during his town hall meeting today at the University of Maryland (my alma mater, by the way).

    Here's the context: Obama was talking about the need to avoid being "penny wise and pound foolish" in deficit reduction--which, of course, is the big focus on Capitol Hill right now.

    Obama mentioned that he recently talked to Southwest CEO Gary Kelly about NextGen. If implemented, the president said, the satellite-based air traffic control system could save airlines about 15% on fuel on average. That would mean less pollution, he said, and also could translate into lower fares.

    "So why wouldn't we do that?" he added. "It costs some money initially, but if we make the investment it will pay off."

    Of course, it is much easier for the president to say that than to negotiate a budget that maintains or increases the investment. But at least the aviation industry can draw some encouragement from extemporaneous comments from Obama that seems to show the industry's message on NextGen has sunk in with him.

    Tags: tw99, Obama, NextGen

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