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GPS Tech May Help Ontime Performance At Midway

Midway Airport

The Southwest Airlines terminal at Midway International Airport. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – New GPS technology may improve ontime performance for flights at Midway International Airport.

Midway, of course, takes a back seat to O’Hare International Airport from an air traffic standpoint, given that O’Hare has four times as many flights daily at Monday.

Wind conditions warranting, commercial jets usually use a circling approach when landing at Midway, so as to avoid flights to and from O’Hare, and to avoid downtown Chicago.

But with GPS-based Required Navigation Performance (RNP) technology, arrivals at Midway will theoretically make better time, CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reported. The technology allows an aircraft to fly in a specific path between two three-dimensionally defined points, and is more accurate than standard-instrument landing.

Currently, only one runway at Midway, 13 center, is equipped to handle RNP, Habermehl reported. Planes head in from the northeast to the southwest on the runway.

The technology for RNP dates back to 1996, but only 490 of commercial aircraft and about half of commercial pilots are authorized for it, Habermehl reported.

The transition to RNP landing technology at Midway is expected to be complete by 2012.