New Air Traffic Control System at Crossroads

The FAA is creating a new air traffic system that officials say will be as revolutionary for civil aviation as was the advent of radar decades ago. But the program is at a crossroads.

Traffic capacity is expected to increase significantly with the FAA’s GPS-based NextGen system, which is also expected to save time, fuel and money by allowing more direct routes.

The difficulty at the crossroads is a budget conscious Congress that is hesitating over the cost of equipping planes with new technology. Also, experts are concerned the U.S. could lose its lead in the manufacture of high tech aviation equipment because the FAA is moving too slowly.