FAA Partnership Award Recognizes Denver International Airport For Drone Work, NextGen Technology

December 21, 2016 – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recognized Denver International Airport (DEN) with a 2016 Regional Administrator Aviation Partnership Award for the airport’s work with the federal agency’s NextGen and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) programs.

NextGen is an umbrella term for the FAA’s ongoing, wide-ranging transformation of the National Airspace System. At the most basic level, NextGen represents an evolution from a ground-based system of air traffic control to a satellite-based system of air traffic management. DEN has been at the forefront of developing, testing and implementing NextGen flight procedures since 2010. DEN was the first commercial airport to design a truly comprehensive plan of Area Navigation (RNAV) from the beginning that allows aircraft to fly more predictable and smoother approaches into Denver that reduce fuel consumption and residential noise. DEN continues to work closely with the FAA’s Metroplex program on designing even more advanced NextGen procedures in Denver.

The award also recognizes DEN for its commitment to the FAA’s UAS program, which seeks to safely integrate remotely piloted aircraft into the nation’s airspace system. This fall, DEN partnered with the FAA to evaluate emerging technology that could one day help airports detect UAS that could be hazardous to aircraft. Last year, DEN implemented a regional working group made up of representatives from local airports, the FAA and regional law enforcement agencies to help explore procedures, rules and best practices for managing drone activity near commercial airports.

“When Denver International Airport opened in 1995, it was the first airport to achieve a triple-simultaneous landing in bad weather, representing the apex of airport design and technology at the time,” Day said. “Because of our strong partnership with the FAA, we continue to be on the cutting edge of aviation technology more than two decades later, and are poised to achieve the first triple-simultaneous landing using NextGen technology. I am grateful to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, the FAA’s Northwest Mountain Region team and the entire FAA Denver Airport District Office for their ongoing collaboration.”