Air Transport World

On the right track

Regional airlines and airports now are able to reap the benefits of real-time flight tracking

In the six years since FAA reluctantly released its graphical Aircraft Situation Display flight-tracking data to the aviation public, big airlines have spent megabucks constructing systems that allow them to watch their flights and the weather affecting them in near real time.

Now, small carriers, airports, FBOs, and even limousine and taxicab companies are obtaining the same comprehensive picture of air traffic for as little as $250 a month. And dozens of them are realizing significant cost savings and efficiency improvements from knowing exactly when an aircraft will land or how best to plan a rerouting.

Ultimately, say the companies that have sprung up to market ASD data, these systems will enable FAA to implement its Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) program under which ATC, airlines and other airspace users would work together to resolve operational problems created by weather or other delay factors.

Major purveyors of low-cost ASD systems include Dimensions International of Alexandria, Va. www.dimen-intl.com; Flyte Comm of Florida, Plantation, Fla. www.flytecomm. com; RLM Software, Boston www. the trip.com, and Sky Source, a joint venture of ARINC and Mitre Corp. www. sky source. net. Most of their principals worked together in traffic management at FAA before deciding they could build better mousetraps in a nongovernmental setting and striking off on their own. …

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