Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Home Travel US Airlines Implore Transportation Officials To Do More To Prevent Delays & Cancelations

US Airlines Implore Transportation Officials To Do More To Prevent Delays & Cancelations

by Staff

Summary

  • A shortage of national air traffic controllers is causing delays and cancelations for commercial airlines.
  • The FAA is recruiting and training new air traffic controllers, but they are still far from filling the gap.
  • The FAA is establishing a panel of experts to address staffing challenges and safety issues in the air traffic control sector.


Airlines across the United States are raising their concerns with transportation officials over the challenges faced with a shortage of national air traffic controllers, the impact of hobby aircraft, and staffing schedules across peak travel times. These, when combined, can lead to insufficient resources and effects on commercial airlines and their schedules.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Southwest are being represented by lobbying group Airlines for America, voicing their concerns to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. The group states:

“(To) take all possible actions to find the appropriate balance between commercial and private aviation traffic with the goal of minimizing delays and cancellations for the traveling public.”

Photo: Markus Mainka | Shutterstock


3,000 ATC short

The FAA has advised that they are trying to do as much as possible to recruit, train, and deploy new air traffic controllers to where they are needed. 1,500 new air traffic controllers have been trained so far this year, which is still a far cry from the 3,000 required to fill the gap in the sector.

Data reviewed by the FAA highlighted that from December 20th to 27th, scheduled aircraft operations were delayed 77% due to volume, 19.1% due to adverse weather conditions, and 0.9% due to inadequate FAA staffing.

Related

Air Traffic Controller Shortage Is Damaging Aviation Safety

Witnesses at the senate hearing cautioned that ongoing ATC staffing issues could lead to further near-miss incidents across the US.

Buttigieg and the FAA have made it clear that the improvement in staffing numbers is a key priority, with reports that some staff across the nation are working extended hours, or six-day weeks, to cover the current shortages. While there may be unrest in the control tower, it is worth remembering that, according to the United States Secretary of Transportation, the US is on track to have the lowest number of flight cancelations in the last five years.

A panel to review ATC practices

Just before Christmas, the FAA announced its intentions to establish a panel of experts to address fatigue, near-miss incidents, and mandatory overtime challenges within the sector. The three-member committee, led by Mark Rosekind, a sleep expert and past National Transportation Safety Board member, will begin work in January. Findings will then be provided approximately six weeks later.

Denver Airport Air Traffic Control Tower at Sunrise

Photo: Denver International Airport

Keeping the skies safe

Airspace in the United States is split up into 21 separate zones, with each one of those zones then divided into sectors. Within each zone are pockets of airspace, around 80 kilometers in diameter, referred to as TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control). The FAA has designed the air traffic control system around these TRACON divisions, with personnel assigned to patrol specific zones.

Controllers are always in touch with pilots, with communication between the ground and the pilot being absolutely essential. Trained pilots rely on this information significantly, even though they are trained to fly aircraft off instruments alone as a failsafe mechanism.

Several air traffic controllers at their workstations.

Photo: Gorodenkoff | Shutterstock

Read more about what it takes to be an air traffic controller here.

  • American Airlines Tile

    American Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    AA/AAL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, New York JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1926

    Alliance:
    oneworld

    CEO:
    Robert Isom

    Country:
    United States

    Airline Group:
    American Airlines Group

    Region:
    North America

    Loyalty Program:
    AAdvantage

  • Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 San Francisco

    Southwest Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    WN/SWA

    Airline Type:
    Low-Cost Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Dallas Love Field, Denver International Airport, Harry Reid International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Houston Hobby Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Midway International Airport, Oakland International Airport, Orlando International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1967

    CEO:
    Robert Jordan

    Country:
    United States

  • Delta A350

    Delta Air Lines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    DL/DAL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Boston Logan International Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, New York JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Salt Lake City International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1929

    Alliance:
    SkyTeam

    CEO:
    Ed Bastian

    Country:
    United States

Leave a Comment

Copyright ©️ All rights reserved. | Tourism Trends