FAA, Boeing Offer Different, But Compatible, Air Traffic Plans
June 7, 2001
The Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing Co. have laid out separate, futuristic plans to use satellite-based technology to increase capacity and simplify air-traffic management.
How and whether the two proposals could be meshed has yet to be determined. But those familiar with both approaches call them "totally compatible."
- The FAA predicts it can increase capacity by 30 percent over the next 10 years by taking advantage of technology and procedures that are already being used or developed.
- The estimated cost to the government of the FAA plan is about $11.5 billion, not including new runways and the substantial investment that carriers would need to make to outfit their fleets with new navigation and communications equipment.
- Boeing's plan envisions a gradual but radical shift from traditional ground-based air-traffic control to a system that relies on satellites and the sophisticated use of information being beamed from airplanes to controllers.
- The beamed information would allow controllers to see the trajectory of each aircraft and use that information to predict traffic snarls before they occur.
Boeing formed an air-traffic management unit last year in part because of concerns that a potential $30 billion demand for new airplanes over the next 20 years might be strangled by air-traffic gridlock.
Source: J. Lynn Lunsford and Martha Brannigan, "FAA, Boeing, in Air-Traffic Plans, Stress Satellites," Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2001.
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