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Bay Area Airports To Adopt Satellite-Based Air Traffic Control System

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Oakland International Airport

A Transportation Security Administration employee inspects bags at Oakland International Airport. (Collection: Getty Images News)

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OAKLAND (KCBS) – A modern, satellite-based system of air traffic control now in development will streamline how commercial airliners take off and land at Northern California airports, a top Federal Aviation Administration official said Monday.

Michael Huerta, acting administrator of the FAA, came to Oakland International Airport to unveil plans to replace the radar-based technology used at Bay Area and Sacramento airports with a system that relies on more precise satellite readings to determine an aircraft’s location.

“What that means is that airplanes fly much more precise tracks, and that enables them to reduce the noise, the fuel burn and the track miles that are flown,” Huerta said.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

Airline industry experts have touted the next generation of air traffic control technology as a way to control fuel costs and facilitate a greater volume of flights during high traffic hours.

The Bay Area phase of the so-called NextGen modernization effort, dubbed the Metroplex Initiative, will require input from air traffic controllers, airline officials and pilots, Huerta said.

“We’re bringing the controller’s perspective and the pilot perspective into the very front of the process. We’re asking the people that are going to fly it and the people that are going to operate it, is this going to work for you?” Huerta said.

Where it normally takes anywhere from five to ten years to implement changes in the air traffic control infrastructure, Huerta believes NextGen could be completed in three years.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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