Airline flights between North and South America and helicopters serving offshore oil rigs will be the biggest beneficiaries of satellite-based air traffic controls due to enter service in the Gulf of Mexico in December. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told a Monday press conference that the new system covering 240,000 square miles of Gulf waters represents a major step in efforts to overhaul the U.S. air traffic control system, while FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt called it "one of the biggest steps in technology our generation is going to see."

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