Tuesday, June 01, 2010

New GPS Technology by 2020

Airlines, private jet operators and other aircraft owners are officially on notice: Their planes must be equipped with new global-positioning technology by January 1, 2020, according to USA TODAY report.

The deadline applies to airlines and business jet operators. But many individuals who own small single-engine planes also would have to install the new equipment — at a cost of up to USD 10,000 a plane — if they expect to operate at commercial airports or close to congested airspace.

The equipment, which could cost US airlines as much as USD 6.2 billion by some estimates to install in all aircrafts' cockpits, is a key element of the NextGen Air Traffic Control system that would replace the 1950s-era ground-based radar control system now in use. The system is supposed to improve safety, reduce air traffic congestion, increase traffic capacity, lower fuel consumption and shorten commercial flight times. As a result, airlines, businesses and individuals are expected to save billions of dollars annually.

The equipment required would broadcast a plane's exact position in the sky to both ground controllers and to every other plane in the sky. Eventually, planes will be required to carry equipment that allows them to receive positioning signals from other aircraft, as well as from satellites and ground stations.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood suggested that government might be able provide some financial help to the industry for equipping its planes. But there's little support in Congress for such spending.


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