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Panel: Airlines, Bizjets Should Get ADS-B Funds

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The Future of Aviation Advisory Committee Wednesday urged the government to help pay for the cost of installing ADS-B equipment ... in airliners and business jets. The group suggested operators could match federal aid with commitments such as lowered emissions. That option may be most palatable for carriers, because lowered emissions are a byproduct of improved fuel efficiency and fleet modernization that is likely to occur, regardless. The committee was formed by charter in April 2010 and charged with delivering recommendations, information and advice to the Secretary of Transportation regarding the competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry. Its membership includes the presidents of airlines, government employees, union leaders, a representative from Boeing's commercial airplanes division and Jack Pelton, from Cessna. (See the full list here.) Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he plans to have a timetable by mid-February that will implement the recommendations but no decision has yet been made on financial aid for bizjets and airliners. Pelton had some specific comments.

"There have to be incentives to equip early," Pelton said in a Wednesday conference call. "We want to see accelerated benefits." LaHood estimated in May that the cost of equipment upgrades would range roughly between roughly $2 billion and $4 billion. The effectiveness of ADS-B technology is reliant in part on the number of operators using it. As it is, operators are required by 2020 to equip their cockpits with ADS-B hardware. The advisory committee's recommendations were not limited to ADS-B. A total of 23 recommendations were put forth on matters ranging from safety to labor and the environment. Among them is a call for responsible regulatory intervention to reduce the influence of speculative trading on fuel-price volatility, a cause already pursued supported by Delta Air Lines, as we reported earlier.

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