Oct 1, 2007
A White House spokesman says the administration is looking into ways to regulate air traffic to ease congestion and delays. Officials say long- and short-term solutions are on the table, including a redesign of air traffic flow over the crowded Northeast corridor. Congress is also offering solutions, with House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn., suggesting that the FAA impose scheduling restrictions. Sep 27, 2007
Changes to infrastructure needed to curb delays: Officials agree that big changes are necessary to prevent the record delays of 2007 from becoming the norm. Robert Poole, director of transportation studies for the libertarian-oriented Reason Foundation, suggests privatizing air traffic control. FAA officials want to migrate from the current radar-based system to one that uses satellites to track planes, allowing greater precision and increased capacity. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters says a solution needs to be implemented soon. "Aviation delays will grow without significant reforms as forecasters predict that air traffic will increase by the equivalent of two major hubs a year," Peters said. Sep 27, 2007 Singapore and Malaysia governments stated Sept. 26 that unlimited access to the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route, which a number of carriers have expressed interest in operating, will not be allowed until at least the end of 2008. Sep 27, 2007
Small glitches can cause air traffic pileups: The nation's aging air traffic control system, surging demand for air travel and the airlines' race to meet that demand have combined to tax the capacity of available airspace. Fixing the problem is complicated, with updated technology put forward most often as the ultimate solution. "What's hard for everyone to understand is no one really controls the system, not even the FAA," says Russ Chew, president of JetBlue Airways Corp. and former chief operating officer at the FAA. "Airlines can't tell one another not to schedule flights. The FAA can't tell airlines how to schedule flights. It's like saying, 'There's too much traffic on a California freeway at 9 a.m. -- fix it.'" Sep 27, 2007
The focus of the White House discussion was congestion in the New York area, which handles a third of US air traffic. Delays in New York can affect flights throughout the country. Of immediate concern are delays at John F. Kennedy airport, which is growing fast and is a major point for international...