The Southwest Airlines holiday season meltdown drew a lot more attention to all US airlines.
Nobody predicted Southwest’s problems, so it’s reasonable to wonder if another major airline has a flaw that could disrupt operations.
It also makes sense to be proactive in avoiding potential problems. In New York, one of the busiest airport markets in the country, the Federal Aviation Administration has been aggressive in this regard.
The three airports JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark that are close to New York City have an impact on air travel across the nation in addition to those travelling into and out of the New York metropolitan area. At least in part because of this, the FAA has become involved.
“The FAA is taking several steps this summer to ensure safe and smooth air travel to and from New York City, even as we see strong domestic demand and a return of pre-pandemic international traffic.”FAA
“To help avoid disruptions, the agency will relax slot usage requirements for airlines. In turn, the FAA expects airlines to take steps to minimise passenger impact, such as operating larger aircraft to transport more passengers and ensuring passengers are fully informed about any potential disruptions.”
The federal agency has reduced the total number of flights leaving from the three airports in exchange for giving the airlines more latitude with regard to the airport slots they are allotted.
US Airlines Cuts New York Flights This Summer
Due to a lack of air traffic controllers, the FAA made the changes, which also affect Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington. Even though it serves the New York market, Newark Airport is not affected by the summertime changes.
Many airlines have reduced their departures from New York and Washington in order to comply with the FAA’s regulations.
American Airlines: Cut 4,790 flights to or from JFK, LaGuardia and Reagan National, as well as Newark Liberty International Airport, from its May 1 to Sept. 30 schedule.
United Airlines: Cut 4,353 flights between New York and Washington.
JetBlue: Cut 3,565 flights at the affected airports.
Delta: Cut 1,983 flights between New York and Washington.
Although Southwest Airlines has not yet reduced its flight schedule, it may do so in the future.
The FAA modification gives the airlines the option of not using all of their available slots. That enables them to cancel flights after submitting a waiver request to the FAA, which should result in crowded planes and more expensive tickets. Already booked flights for passengers have been impacted by these changes.
“In response to the FAA’s slot waiver, American will temporarily reduce frequencies on select routes from LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International Airport this summer. We are actively contacting impacted customers to provide them with alternative travel options.”
The FAA has Air Traffic Controller shortage
The United States needs to make these changes because there aren’t enough air traffic controllers. The federal agency is taking action to permanently address those problems.
In late March, the FAA convened a summit on the nation’s busiest and most complicated airspace in New York City with airlines and other stakeholders. According to the agency, it was “similar to the one held in Florida last year that led to measures to improve efficiency in another high-demand area.”
The FAA has also taken other actions
“Although the FAA continues to reduce the air traffic controller training backlog at many FAA air traffic facilities, staffing levels at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (N90) remain below targets.”the FAA said in a news release
“To maintain safety and meet demand, the agency will reassign approximately 100 square miles of Newark airspace from N90 to the Philadelphia Terminal Radar Approach Control later this year.”
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