Flight Caps Wont Help Ease Congestion

Congestion problems have reached crisis levels for the airline industry, admits the Boeing CEO, but the demand management proposals by the US Dept. of Transportation (DOT) aren’t the answer, he says. Carson said the traffic systems need to be transitioned to take advantage of the technology embedded in aircraft today.

At the heart of the controversy is a plan by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to cut flights to pre-1969 levels at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

In a joint letter to DOT Secretary Mary Peters, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and New Jersey Governor Jon. S. Corzine opposed the imposition of flight caps at the airport. “We must act now to reduce delays,” they said. “However, the solution on which the FAA is currently focused—a cap on the number of flights at JFK—is, in truth, no solution at all.”

“Arbitrary reduction in flights at JFK would be a direct blow to New York’s competitive position in the world economy, cutting off international business activity . . .and what the FAA should be doing is to upgrade the technology at our major international airport, not cut off access to the city,” said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City.

Among the 17 delay-reduction recommendations to the FAA, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey offered:

• Installing components of new radar technologies now, rather than waiting for the five years it is expected to take for full implementation.

• Installing advanced ground surveillance systems to better manage aircraft on the ground.

• Adding a westbound departure route to the existing airspace to alleviate air traffic on one of the most congested routes in the metropolitan area.

• Adding taxiways to handle more aircraft, a measure to which the Port Authority already has committed. This would allow the airports to handle more aircraft simultaneously and reduce wait times.

• Improving surveillance and navigation systems to reduce spacing between aircraft in flight, allowing simultaneous arrivals and departures from all four airports in poor weather conditions. (Weather accounts for 62.3% of the delay minutes in the metropolitan area).

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