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FAA Will Roll Out New Air Traffic Control System At CLT

Duncan McFadyen

New air traffic control technology at Charlotte Douglas International Airport should help reduce the time spent on planes, if all goes according to plan.

It also means the old time-consuming system of verbally transmitting flight plans and clearances will be replaced by something much quieter. A new system called DataComm will send all the information digitally, directly from air traffic control to the airplane’s computers.

FAA officials were in Charlotte Friday to show off the new technology, which is scheduled to be implemented this spring. It’s part of the agency’s Next Generation or NextGen initiative, launched seven years ago. The plan includes updates to technology and procedures on the ground and in the air, with the goal of making flying more efficient. The FAA says that Charlotte-Douglas—the country’s sixth-busiest airport—will be the first in the country to use the DataComm system.

DataComm is one of the major changes planned under NextGen. New departure and approach routes are already in place at Charlotte-Douglas. And, officials plan to implement new ground control procedures later this year. All of this, the FAA says, will reduce the amount of fuel airlines use and reduce the amount of time passengers spend waiting on the tarmac.