Satellites Will Soon Guide Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Flights, Saving Time and Fuel

Aug 16, 2016

By 2018, planes flying in and out of Cleveland Hopkins will be getting most of their flight instructions from a satellite system.
Credit KEVIN NIEDERMIER / WKSU

Planes flying in and out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport will soon get more directions from satellites than ground-based radar systems.  The Federal Aviation Administration says the new system will allow straighter flight paths, which will save fuel and reduce flight times.

As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, it’s part of a modernization effort that is already operating in Washington D.C., Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston.

The FAA’s NextGen satellite system takes over between takeoff and landing instructions from traditional ground controllers. Regional FAA Administrator Barry Cooper says it eliminates the need for planes to fly irregular paths to stay in contact with ground-based radar installations. He says Houston’s airport has benefited from the new system, which went online in 2014.

“We have some quantifiable numbers, and there was something in the neighborhood of 650,000 air miles saved annually by the airspace being modernized and streamlined the way it is. So that saves time, that saves fuel, that’s a lower fuel burn, that’s a smaller carbon footprint.”

Eleven metropolitan airports, including Cleveland, either have the new systems or soon will. Cooper says Cleveland is expected to go on line in 2018.