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Passengers Benefit From FAA Airspace ImprovementsOctober 21, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Limiting flight delays in the Northeast got a boost from the Air Transport Association (ATA) who commended the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for implementing the next phase of the U.S. Northeast airspace redesign project, which the ATA believes will bring immediate benefits to airline passengers.
Most of the changes were made to the airspace over the busy New York airports, enabling flights to operate more efficiently in and out of the city’s airports, reducing delays for passengers, the ATA reports.
“The industry has long supported the redesign of the most congested airspace in the U.S. These changes will lead to immediate safety and efficiency benefits for airlines and passengers, and are a key component of the larger NextGen air traffic management project,” said Tom Hendricks, senior vice president of safety, operations and security, ATA. “These changes were possible thanks to FAA’s strong collaboration with the industry and labor. While further work remains to be done, this template is the best way to bring needed changes throughout the National Airspace System.”
For more than a decade, the industry has urged the FAA to move forward with changes to the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia airspace as the airports in that sector suffer from some of the worst delays in the country, ATA says. Nearly half of all national airspace delays occur in the New York and Philadelphia airspace. This same congested airspace can have a ripple effect of delays to other parts of the United States, especially during weather disruptions.
The second stage of airspace changes implemented will enable airlines additional flexibility in terms of routings when they arrive or depart the New York metro area, ATA says. The changes will also lead to improvements as far south as the Washington metro area.
Some examples of the changes made today include the following:
• Aircraft leaving New York City airports heading west now have the option to use a fifth departure route. This route will allow planes to climb more efficiently to higher and less-congested cruising altitudes.
• FAA also implemented new routings for flights arriving at Washington Dulles airport. The change in routings will separate traffic going to Washington from flights departing New York, reducing congestion in the region.
ATA and its members are working closely with FAA to implement the next stage of airspace changes, ATA said.