Air traffic control milestone met

The Federal Aviation Administration has reached the first milestone in its

initiative to reduce air traffic delays this summer with the implementation

of a tool designed to more evenly space aircraft taking off from airports

in the Northeast.

The Departure Spacing Program uses air traffic information from airports

equipped with the system as well as information from filed flight plans

and coordinates departures by spacing aircraft more evenly. The DSP, developed

by Computer Sciences Corp., expedites the flow of air traffic while minimizing

delays, according to the FAA.

Controllers have been using the tool at the LaGuardia, Kennedy, Newark

and Philadelphia airport towers and in radar control facilities in the New

York area since April. President Clinton announced the Spring 2000 Initiative

in March to reduce delays during the busiest travel season.

The FAA and the National Weather Service also introduced new collaborative

tools for coordinating severe weather reports and updating them throughout

the day.

Using DSP, controllers can coordinate the rerouting of aircraft to avoid

severe weather and reduce the need for voice communication between air traffic

control facilities by providing flight plan information and reports, the

FAA said.

Future plans for DSP involve expanding it to allow the FAA Air Traffic

Control System Command Center in Herndon, Va., to facilitate the flow of

traffic into and out of all of the northeastern U.S. airports and enhancing

the software to provide historical trend analysis.

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