Data Comm: NextGen’s Next Big Thing
Data Comm uses text messaging between the Air Traffic Controller and the Pilot instead of voice communications. Data Comm is currently in use at 56 major North American airports. Equipped aircraft can take advantage of the many benefits now.
According to the FAA “Data Comm offers many advantages to operators and controllers. In economic benefits alone, Data Comm is expected to save operators more than $10 billion over the 30-year life cycle of the program and the FAA about $1 billion in future operating costs.”
Other major benefits are time savings and safety. When requesting departure clearance equipped aircraft are put at the front of the queue ahead of non-equipped aircraft. The accuracy and speed of the digital clearance message reduces the time normally spent using voice communications. These digital text messages increase safety by eliminating misunderstandings of voice communications.