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Boeing Gets Satellite License

July 19, 2001

SEATTLE (AP) _ Boeing Co. has received a federal license for mobile satellite services, a key step toward the company’s goal of creating a new air traffic management system.

Without the license from the Federal Communications Commission, which allocates to Boeing a certain area of the available spectrum, Boeing could not have moved forward with its plan to revamp the system for guiding airplanes during flights, takeoff and landing.

``What it does is it recognizes that the need for such a system is real,″ Dennis Muilenburg, vice president of engineering for Boeing’s Air Traffic Management Unit, said Thursday.

Muilenburg said Boeing received the license four years after initially applying for it, the standard amount of time for the rigorous application process, he said.

In June, Boeing unveiled its proposed satellite-based air traffic control system, designed to reduce delays, increase safety and allow more planes to fly the skies.

If implemented, the system would rely on a network of satellites that could more accurately map aircraft locations and flight plans than the existing system, which relies on radar. With improved information, planes would be able to fly closer together and better avoid bad weather.

The system builds on the Federal Aviation Administration’s own $11.5 billion plan, which also would use satellites, rather than radar, to track airplanes.

The FAA’s plan also calls for new equipment, runways and air routes to reduce flight delays.

Boeing officials have said the company decided to develop a system because of concerns that demand for its commercial airplanes would be limited by the capacity of the current air traffic system.


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