FAA will roll out system to prevent runway collisions

The Federal Aviation Administration officially unveiled new technology today to reduce air traffic delays and increase passenger safety as planes land and take off.

Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee is the nation's first airport to use the Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model-X runway safety system. Although FAA officially christened the system today for further deployments, the Wisconsin airport has been testing ASDE-X for several months.

FAA plans to deploy ASDE-X at four other major airports this year: Orlando; St. Louis; Charlotte, N.C.; and Providence, R.I. A dozen more airports expect to begin using it in 2005.

A chief goal of the collision prevention system is to keep aircraft arrivals and departures on schedule. 'If planes don't move because of bad weather or congestion, the economy doesn't move and that is unacceptable,' Transportation secretary Norman Mineta said in a statement.

To spot potential collisions and to ensure aviation safety on the ground, ASDE-X creates up-to-the-minute maps of all airport operations that controllers oversee. It is especially helpful to controllers at night or in bad weather when visibility is poor, FAA officials said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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