The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is conducting trials at the Newark, Tennessee and Memphis airports, to demonstrate capabilities and benefits of its NextGen data and e-mail system.
Once in use, the Data Communications (Data Comm) technology is expected to reduce airline delays by simplifying the communication between pilots and air traffic controllers (ATC) that are required before a flight take-off.
The new technology will also help in modifying changes in flight routes more quickly during turbulent weather, a major cause of airline delays.
The communication system employs digital information exchange to provide additional advanced capabilities for controller-to-pilot communications.
The new system promises to unclog airports, save the money of airlines and reduce emissions and will be deployed in more than 50 ATC towers beginning this year, and in ATC facilities that manage high altitude traffic from 2019.
FAA said in a statement: "By exchanging digital messages in addition to talking to each other over the radio, air traffic controllers, pilots, and airline operations centers can communicate more clearly and efficiently.
"Better communication improves controller and pilot productivity, which enhances airspace capacity and reduces flight delays."
Supported by FedEx, United Airlines and UPS, the trial has already shown a reduction in delays and cost savings primarily due to reduced communication time between controllers and pilots and enhanced re-routing around weather and congestion.
FAA is expected to invest around $741m to equip airport towers with the system, followed by another $800m to bring the system to its regional centres managing high-altitude flights, Bloomberg reported.
Image: An aerial view of the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. Photo: courtesy of Fan Railer.