The struggling airline industry produced another casualty last month with Boeing’s announcement that it will put the brakes on its once ambitious Air Traffic Management unit (AIN, July 2003, page 85). Boeing established the business in 2000 with the hope of convincing the federal government and airlines to overhaul ATC to include satellite-based navigation systems and sophisticated airborne data transmission. But since 9/11, economic recovery and security have become the airlines’ overriding concern, making the plan unworkable for now.
“In an effort to be more efficient, we are scaling down our investment and making an organizational change to meet current demand,” Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher said. “When governments are ready to build an advanced ATM system, we will be ready to respond quickly.”
In the meantime, Boeing ATM will become a part of Boeing Phantom Works, the company’s advanced research and development unit. Boeing announced that Kevin Brown will replace John Hayhurst as head of the Air Traffic Management business. Hayhurst is retiring.