New Flight System to Save 2.3 Million Gallons of Jet Fuel

Federal aviation officials launched an effort in the Bay Area that they say will speed up air travel and save about 2.3 million gallons of fuel for flights in and out of Northern California.

As part of the Federal Aviation Administration's NextGen program, which is an effort to modernize air traffic control, work began Monday, March 19, to design more efficient flying routes that take advantage of satellite technology, officials said. The FAA is working with airports in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Sacramento as well as airlines and air traffic controllers to hammer out the new system.

One of the ways planes will utilize less fuel is by descending directly to the runway, instead of the current system of coming down in stages, said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor. New technology will guide the jetliners to the ground without stopping at various points for safety reasons. Gregor said the changes were studied and will be implemented at a cost of about $5 million during the next three years.

The NextGen program, however, will mean doing many other things differently at Northern California airports. The traffic for some routes from Bay Area airports will have their takeoffs oriented by satellite technology.

"The implementation of NextGen is a 'win-win-win' for airports, the airlines, and the air traveler," San Francisco international airport director John L. Martin wrote in a statement. "With more efficient routing, congestion at airports is relieved, airlines run more efficiently."


Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335 for more information.