FAA Lauds Benefits of NextGen for Denver Area

New procedures will save $10 million per year in fuel.

NextGen Denver Metroplex

NextGen Denver Metroplex

On the eve of the federal shutdown, the FAA posted an item on its website detailing the success of NextGen implementation in the Denver metroplex. That includes benefits to Centennial Airport, one of the country's busiest GA facilities, as well as benefits to Denver International. Even Colorado Springs Airport benefits, with improved routes that avoid traffic conflicts with the Denver-area facilities.

Denver International Airport (KDEN), home base for United Airlines, stands to benefit most. After a demonstration ride using one of the 51 Optimized Profile Descent (OPD) approaches, DEN Airport Manager Kim Day said, "It was clear to me that the things we had implemented were having the effect that we planned."

United estimates a savings of 100 to 200 pounds of fuel per arrival, translating to an annual reduction of 27.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, and savings of $9.8 million. Beyond that, the FAA's Denver air traffic manager John Connolly said that, due to the more stabilized approaches afforded by OPDs, "We have seen about a 35 percent decrease in the number of go-arounds caused by aircraft coming in too high or too fast."

Corporate pilots flying to Centennial appreciate the ability to stay higher longer on arrival procedures. Not only do they save fuel, but the new routings allow them to stay above mountain-wave turbulence. Centennial executive director Robert Olislagers was part of the consortium of stakeholders that developed the procedures, and he added that the new routes are safer and more direct.

KDEN manager Day reiterated, "The pilots are thrilled; the airline operations people at the airlines are thrilled."

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