Ten years after Congress authorized funding for NextGen, progress remains slow for one of the Federal Aviation Administration and the country's most complex and important initiatives. The Next Generation Air Transportation System was touted as the solution for dealing with growing air travel, fuel consumption and emissions, and making the safest air transportation system in the world even safer and more efficient. But airlines are still awaiting promises yet to be fulfilled. Rick Dalton, Southwest's director of air space and flow management, said the airline expected to recoup its 2007 investment of more than $100 million by 2011, but has not, citing the slow pace of NextGen progress. Alaska Airlines Chairman Bill Ayers is seeing progress, but worries funding cuts will threaten the economic and other benefits that are on the horizon. Airlines for America Senior Vice President Dan Elwell said airlines are reluctant to make additional NextGen investments until benefits are proven by the FAA.
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