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U.S. FAA to deploy software to reduce airport delays

By Reuters

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON -The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Tuesday it plans to deploy a new software capability to reduce taxi times and ramp congestion for flights at 27 major U.S. airports.

The FAA and NASA said the new software was tested for four years that calculates gate pushbacks at busy hub airports “so that each plane can roll directly to the runway and to take off.” When deployed, the FAA said it anticipates annually saving more than 7 million gallons (26.5 million liters) of fuel and eliminating more than 75,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said at a press briefing the software came from the strategy “the trajectories to get where you wanted out in space to other planets… The idea was simple: take that technology and apply it to an aircraft.”

The airports expected to get the software over the next decade include Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago O’Hare and Midway, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston Bush, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Newark, New York JFK and La Guardia, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington Dulles and Reagan National.

The project begins in 2022 at Phoenix and Charlotte and could take five to 10 years to fully implement.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said the “new capability as part of a flight merging system has a double benefit: It reduces aircraft emissions and ensures air travelers experience more on-time departures.”

The capability, which will be part of the FAA’s Terminal Flight Data Manager program. The FAA said during testing at Charlotte airport the program reduced taxi times that helped save more than 275,000 gallons of fuel and reduced delays by 916 hours “equivalent to shaving 15 minutes of waiting time on a taxiway for more than 3,600 departing flights.”