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US wants GPS technology on all planes that use nation's busiest airports

The federal government ordered all aircraft that use the nation's busiest airports to have satellite technology on board by 2020.

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A Continental Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet passes United Airlines planes at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport May 3, 2010. The federal government wants all aircraft that use the nation's busiest airports to have satellite technology for air traffic control.

REUTERS/John Gress

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The Obama administration is taking a major step toward an air traffic control system based on satellite technology.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has released an order Thursday that requires all aircraft that use the nation's busiest airports to have equipment by 2020 that continually broadcasts their location to other aircraft and air traffic controllers.

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LaHood said the new system will be safer and more efficient than the radar-based system currently in use. It's also expected to cut fuel consumption and pollution.

Airlines and small plane owners say they can't afford the new equipment. They want the government to help pay for it.