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Deloitte Study Shows Satellite Air Traffic Control Offers Savings


Air traffic controllers will still have to stay awake, but according to a Deloitte study released this week, upgrading the global air transportation system to a satellite-based navigation system will enhance cost savings, lower pollution and reduce delays.

The Deloitte study, Transforming the Air Transportation System – A Business Case for Program Acceleration, made a case for moving the Federal Aviation Administration, the European Union and other navigation systems from ground and radar controlled navigation systems to a satellite-based system by its scheduled 2025 deployment date.

“Satellite-based navigation technology is a real game-changer that allows pilots to experience more situational awareness, closer flight separation procedures, and continuous descent landings,” said Tom Captain, vice chairman and aerospace and defense sector leader for Deloitte. “Additionally, it could greatly reduce future weather and air traffic control delays just when travel demand is expected to increase significantly.”

Study findings showed the upgrade cuts fuel use by 3 billion gallons, lowers carbon emissions by 29 million metric tons and reduces delays by 4 million hours. Deloitte estimated annual savings for the U.S. to be $29 billion and a global savings of $135 billion.

Deloitte’s study also showed an additional value of $100 billion if the change-over was completed ahead of schedule. If delayed by five years, global value would shrink by $148 billion.

The switch is not without difficulties. The study showed meeting the 2025 deadline presents funding, technology, integration, policy, procedural and training challenges. Still, overall findings indicate the satellite system is something everyone should jump on board with.

“The successful transformation of the ATS, which entails addressing significant underlying technical and financial challenges, would help realize the significant value that this global initiative offers government, industry and the public,” said Deloitte’s Allen Hockenbury.


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