The Next Generation Air Transportation System, or
Planes would fly directly to their destinations using GPS technology instead of following indirect routes to stay within the range of ground stations. They would continually broadcast their exact positions, not only to air traffic controllers, but to other similarly equipped aircraft. For the first time, pilots would be able to see on cockpit displays where they were in relation to other planes. That would enable planes to safely fly closer together, and even shift some of the responsibility for maintaining a safe separation of planes from controllers to pilots.
But almost nothing has happened as
Increasing capacity is no longer as urgent as it once seemed. The 1 billion passengers a year the
Difficulties have cropped up at almost every turn, from new landing procedures that were impossible for some planes to fly to aircraft-tracking software that misidentified planes. Key initiatives are experiencing delays and are at risk of cost overruns. And the agency still lacks "an executable plan" for bringing
"In the early stages, the message seemed to be that
Some airline officials, frustrated that they haven't seen promised money-saving benefits, say they want better results before they spend more to equip planes to use
Lawmakers, too, are frustrated.
"It's hard not to be worried about
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