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Fri, Jun 16, 2006

Congress Urges FAA To Speed Up Runway Improvements

Increases Funding For Anti-Incursion Systems

Congress has given the FAA something of an ultimatum: "speed it up", regarding a program aimed at improving runway safety at airports across the nation.

The House Appropriations Committee said this week it plans to increase funding for a program to install the Airport Surface Detection Equipment-X system at airports across the country by $10 million, bringing total spending on the program to $73.6 million.

The Chicago Tribune reports the new system is designed to give pilots and air-traffic controllers immediate alerts of probable runway incursions on the ground. It also tracks ground traffic by collecting data from multiple sources, including ground radar and airplane transponders, to create a real-time map of all airplanes and other vehicles operating on an airfield.

The committee says it is not impressed with how slowly the FAA has moved to implement the program... and hopes the extra money greases the wheels a little. Chicago's O'Hare airport was cited as the airport most in need of the new system.

In addition, the committee is also calling on the FAA to accelerate its modernization programs for ATC radar facilities in Chicago, and eight other cities.



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