The Wall Street Journal ran this story over the weekend revealing details of a fund being set up to help airlines pay for NextGen equipage.
Naturally, we had this story about five months ago. The details have been modified slightly, but the plan is still the same. Here also is a link to the NextGen Equipage Fund’s website.
What is different now is the political background. While back in October it appeared that the FAA reauthorization bill was stalled, it is now making good progress and may actually be resolved soon.
There are clauses in the House and Senate versions that could have ramifications for the NextGen Equipage fund. The House bill encourages the use of public-private partnerships to advance NextGen, and the Senate bill has language advocating the use of grants and other instruments to incentivize equipage. While Congress still has work to do to reconcile and clarify these concepts, it seems likely that it will come up with something that could provide some kind of government support to efforts like the NextGen Equipage Fund.
Check out the “NextGen Equipage Fund Overview” on the fund’s website – page 10 of the slide show has an interesting diagram that shows how any federal investment would be more effective if combined with a private sector equipage fund.