Federal Aviation Administration officials say that a new communication system used by pilots and air-traffic controllers is helping flights move with more speed and safety.
The system, called DataComm, sends text messages and computer file transfers about flight routes, traffic, and weather directly to the cockpit, replacing back-and-forth radio conversations between pilots and controllers.
According to the FAA, that trims a 15-minute process down to a few seconds.
And when events like bad weather and reroutes come up, controllers can now notify numerous aircraft about changes at the same time, instead of talking with each pilot separately.
Plus, since the system doesn't rely on radio waves, there's less chance of dangerous miscommunication thanks to garbled voices.
Eight U.S. airlines and 17 international carriers currently have plans to add DataComm to their planes. By the end of the year, 50 airports are expected to have the new system up and running.