The US Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen air traffic control alerting tool is helping to reduce the effects of go-arounds at the country’s airports.
Go-arounds occur when aircraft circle around the airport at different altitudes. They are used to create more space between planes but add to time and fuel costs. Additionally, they increase anxiety among passengers.
NexGen displays triangles between aircraft on the controllers’ radar screens that show the minimum required separation distance for planes lining up for landing. A feature called Automated Terminal Proximity Alert (ATPA) detects if the trailing aircraft are coming too close and alerts the controller by changing the color of the display.
At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, the use of NexGen reduced go-arounds by 23 percent in one year for flights and increased the time between go-around events at the airport from 12.3 days to 21.3 days. ATPA also decreased the excess flight time due to a go-around by 19 percent.