FAA Announces Next Generation of ATC

By 2014, all airplanes will be monitored in the United States using global satellite positioning instead of the radar system currently used. Known as the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast system, or ADS-B, the new system is expected to be safer and more cost efficient than existing air and ground traffic control technology. UPS, Australia, and the FAA have been successfully testing it for years.

In addition, the ADS-B system will transmit information to pilots in flight about other planes in their vicinity. The accuracy of the ADS-B system will allow closer placement of aircraft, and that means denser air traffic, which translates to higher revenues for airlines. Fuel costs will also be slashed because more direct routes will be possible since traffic avoidance can be more precise. Some locations will see the system installed by 2010, but the FAA doesn’t expect full implementation until 2014.