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Controlling the crowded, friendly skies

John Dimsdale Aug 28, 2007
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Controlling the crowded, friendly skies

John Dimsdale Aug 28, 2007
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Scott Jagow: You ever notice how airlines pad their departure and arrival times, so it appears they’re still on schedule? They know there will be delays. Just too many planes in the sky now. But the FAA does have a plan to make things more efficient. This week, it began awarding contracts for a new air-traffic control system, It just won’t come cheap. Here’s John Dimsdale:


John Dimsdale: The new system uses Global Positioning Satellites for a much more accurate reading of where planes are. They can fly closer to each other , saving time, fuel and pollution.

The $15 billion price tag will be built into future ticket prices, although the airlines think the growing number of business jets should pick up more of the tab. John Meenan is with the Air Transport Association.

John Meenan: The business aviation community, which now constitutes 17 percent of the cost of the system is only paying about 7 or 8 percent. We want to pay our share but we think others ought to pay their fair share too.

And for all its cost, airline business consultant Darryl Jenkins says the new air traffic equipment will do nothing to create more gates at the airport.

Darryl Jenkins: As long as we have airlines who all want to fly at the same time, we’re going to have delays at airports.

The new and improved air traffic control system should be phased in over the next 12 years.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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