Skift Take

Scare tactic by the FAA? That's doubtful. The air traffic control system is rapidly becoming a joke, now that the furloughs are in place. This situation is not sustainable, at all.

Get ready for the new normal in air travel — until Congress takes corrective action — as the FAA pares operations at 13 major U.S. airports.

The FAA said today that 1,200 flights were delayed yesterday because of the force-fed furloughs of air traffic controllers, and another 1,400 flights missed schedules due to weather and other factors.

That number approaches the number of flights, 2,994, that were delayed on the worst day for flight delays in all of 2012.

And, the FAA has some more bad news for today:

“Travelers can expect to see a wide range of delays that will change throughout the day depending on staffing and weather related issues. For example, the FAA is experiencing staffing challenges at the New York and Los Angeles En Route Centers and at the Dallas-Ft. Worth and Las Vegas TRACONs. Controllers will space planes farther apart so they can manage traffic with current staff, which will lead to delays at airports including DFW, Las Vegas and LAX. The FAA also expects delays at Newark and LaGuardia because of weather and winds.”

This is all part of the FAA’s national traffic management plan for airports around the country as furloughs of air traffic controllers due to sequestration kicked off around the country on Sunday.

And, get ready for more of this until legislators get sick of their flights back home getting delayed, and decide to write some new laws to provide some relief.

Or the courts could get involved before that.

Airlines for America stated yesterday, as part of its request to the DOT for a temporary exemption from tarmac-delay rules, that the FAA is implementing daily ground delays at seven major U.S. airports, including Newark Airport, JFK, La Guardia, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Chicago O’Hare, San Diego and LAX.

That will lead to 3,800 daily ground delays, Airlines for America states.

But, that’s not all.

The airline trade association says the FAA also informed it that it will undertake “daily traffic management initiatives” at six other major U.S. airports, resulting in 2,900 additional flights being delayed on a daily basis. The airports include Philadelphia, Charlotte/Douglas, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, Miami, Chicago Midway, and San Franciso, which Airlines for America characterized as “among the busiest in the United States.”

“Most of these 13 airports are major hubs for U.S. airlines, and the projected flight delays threaten to wreak havoc in the carriers’ networks, impacting hundreds of cities across the United States from which traffic is routed through these hub airports by delaying other flights and forcing passengers to miss connections,” Airlnes for America states.

It’s going to get a lot worse out there before it gets better.



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Tags: faa, politics

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