The NextGen roll-out is advancing faster than expected, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt told airport executives on Tuesday, and most of the benefits should be felt by 2016 rather than 2018, as originally planned. Babbitt noted that about 30% of commercial aircraft are currently equipped with NextGen avionics, and a "tipping point" could come around 50%, when airlines find they must have the technology in order to compete. Because the NextGen equipment is cheaper than other navigation technology, the new system could benefit small and mid-sized airports even more than major hubs, Babbitt told members of the American Association of Airport Executives meeting in Dallas.

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