Mineta boosts FAA updates

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta emphasized his support Wednesday for a more modern air traffic control system to speed response to the congestion plaguing the National Airspace System.

"I believe a truly effective solution to the problems of congestion and delay will require modernization of our air traffic control system. We have made progress in this area. But we must do more," Mineta told aviation and air traffic professionals at the Air Traffic Control Association Inc.'s meeting in Washington on the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century.

"We can and must take advantage of the procedural and technological solutions that offer the greatest return for future advancements," Mineta said. Mineta highlighted efforts to modernize computers in air traffic facilities that control en route and terminal-area traffic. He said priorities would include long-term technological enhancements such as satellite navigation and Free Flight.

He also gave a boost to the performance-based Air Traffic Organization, which would provide day-to-day air traffic services. It would be rated on its success in implementing safety performance standards developed by the Federal Aviation Administration and its response to agency oversight findings. The FAA is searching for a chief operating officer to lead the organization.

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