December 9– The FAA is now helping to reduce or eliminate one source of delay at Chicago OHare and Midway through the use of Data Communications (Data Comm), part of the FAAs NextGen air traffic control modernization. Data Comm will help reduce delays by making pilot-controller communications shorter and more accurate, which could help keep a plane in the departure line and on schedule. It is now operational at both of Chicagos major airports.

Today, members of the media toured the OHare air traffic control tower and a United Airlines jet to see Data Comm in action. Representatives from the FAA, United Airlines, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, and the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists were on hand.

Inside the tower, controllers enter flight departure clearance instructions into a computer and push a button to electronically send the information to an aircrafts flight deck. Flight crews view the information, press a button to confirm receipt, and press another button to enter the instructions into the aircrafts flight management system.

This process saves valuable time.For instance, when pilots read back a series of complicated waypoints in a clearance with even one mistake called a readback/hearback error they must repeat the instructions until they are correct. These corrections take time, and even a short departure clearance can take two to three times longer than one communicated via Data Comm.

This benefit becomes even more pronounced during bad weather, when Data Comm enables equipped aircraft to take off before an approaching storm closes the departure window, while aircraft relying solely on voice communications remain stuck on the ground waiting for the storm to pass.

Data Comm is expected to save operators more than $10 billion over the 30-year life cycle of the program and save the FAAabout $1 billion in future operating costs.

The first Data Comm-equipped airports Salt Lake City and Houstons George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby received tower departure clearance services eight months ahead of schedule in August 2015.

TheFAAand its industry partners have delivered Data Comm to more than 50 towers to date, almost two and a half years ahead of the original plan. The expansion into en route airspace is the next phase of the program and will start in 2019.

Data Comm is now operational at these airport towers:

Albuquerque
Atlanta
Austin
Baltimore
Boston
Burbank
Charlotte
Chicago OHare
Chicago Midway
Cleveland
Dallas-Ft. Worth
Dallas Love
Denver
Detroit
Fort Lauderdale
Houston Bush
Houston Hobby
Indianapolis
Kansas City
Las Vegas
Los Angeles
Louisville
Memphis
Miami
Minneapolis-St. Paul
Nashville
Newark
New Orleans
New York John F. Kennedy
New York LaGuardia
Oakland
Ontario
Orlando
Philadelphia
Phoenix
Pittsburgh
Portland
Raleigh-Durham
Sacramento
St. Louis
Salt Lake City
San Antonio
San Diego
San Francisco
San Jose
Santa Ana
Seattle
Tampa
Teterboro
Washington Dulles
Washington Reagan
Westchester County
Windsor Locks (Bradley)

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