FAA Takes Steps To Ease Flight Delaysgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
FAA Takes Steps To Ease Flight Delays
Updated 12:17 PM ET August 12, 1999
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Aviation Administration is making some immediate changes to the air traffic control system to ease recent flight delays that have left passengers and airlines fuming, the agency said Thursday.
In letters to top airline executives, FAA Administrator Jane Garvey said she was giving the FAA's air traffic command center in Herndon, Va., greater authority over regional centers on traffic patterns.
Garvey also said a limit would be placed on the use of miles-in-trail restrictions which sometimes put 50 miles between planes and review procedures that hold aircraft on the ground when there are problems at the destination airport.
"Taken together, we believe these initial steps will have an immediate impact on the current situation," Garvey said in a copy of a letter sent to American Airlines President Donald Carty. American is a unit of AMR Corp.
Carty and other executives have mounted a vocal campaign this year to place the bulk of the blame for airline delays on the antiquated air traffic control system.
FAA data shows flight delays in April increased 51 percent from a year earlier to 34,046 delays while May's delays increased 37 percent to 40,053. A delayed flight is defined as one that is more than 15 minutes late.
Although weather causes the majority of delays, problems this year have been compounded by the installation of new air traffic control equipment and increased numbers of flights.
In the busy eastern portion of the country bounded by Chicago, Boston and Miami, air traffic has increased 10 percent so far this year compared to the same period in 1998, one FAA official said.
Garvey asked the airlines to work with her agency on the longer-term goal of modernizing the air traffic system.
"Only with your support and partnership can we improve efficiency, enhance safety, and avoid gridlock," she said.
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