Long Overdue GPS Upgrade Could Save Airlines $US10 Billion a Year

Technically speaking, you have better navigational capability in your car than the entire airline industry. Why? Because they are still relying on an antiquated WWII era traffic network that often takes aircraft on zigzagging routes towards radar beacons—costing carriers billions of dollars in wasted fuel each year. To make matters worse, the plan to upgrade the system has been stuck in the planning stages for more than a decade thanks to funding issues an the complexity of such a switchover.

A switch to GPS could save carriers $US10 billion a year in fuel and it would also increase efficiency—allowing more planes to fly on more routes at the same time. In other words, it could be a financial windfall that would help the airline industry get back on its feet. Yes, making the switch would be extremely complex, but this is really a question about priorities. We simply cannot continue to bail out the airlines every time things go south. Unfortunately, the government does not believe they can get planes flying in a straight line until at least 2020. [USA Today via Digg]