WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday that a new air traffic control system being used in Alaska will enable airlines to send more planes over the Arctic Ocean.
The computerized system went into operation last month at the FAA's air traffic control terminal in Anchorage, FAA spokeswoman Tammy Jones said.
It is designed to enable the distance between one plane and another to eventually be shortened from 115 miles to about 35 miles. That would allow more planes to fly across the Arctic to destinations.
The system replaces a labor-intensive manual process in which air traffic controllers use paper strips to track flights, according to the FAA. The new system, designed by Lockheed Martin Corp., has already been put in place at air traffic control centers in New York and California.
Airlines that could benefit from the new technology include those with routes from the West Coast to Asia, including UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, Northwest Airlines Corp. and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines.
Shares of UAL rose $1.82, or 4.8 percent, to close at $40.17 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Shares of AMR rose $1.60, or 5.3 percent, to close at $31.93 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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