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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it is adding 169 direct routes ahead of the busy summer travel season. According to the FAA, these direct routes will save 40,000 miles and 6,000 minutes of travel time each year. This will also save fuel and time while increasing safety.
The new routes will operate above 18,000 feet along the East Coast as well as over the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. The FAA had sunset some legacy routes that relied on ground-based radar instead of the GPS used by most. It has also announced that it will delay some space launches to prevent disruption in commercial air travel this summer. With fears of a repeat of last summer where 50,000 US flights were cancelled and hundreds of thousands more were delayed, the FAA is trying to get ahead this year.
Tim Arel, the chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization, said:
These significant improvements to our national airspace system are just in time for summer and will help travelers get to their destinations more efficiently. The new routes will reduce complexity and redistribute volume across all available airspace. I’m proud of the FAA and industry’s strong collaboration on this project to get it done.”
It will be interesting to see how flights operate this summer when demand could reach an all-time high. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have already asked to temporarily return up to 10% of their respective slots at New York area airports and Washington National. Staffing for air traffic control officers is insufficient and shortages have been an ongoing issue.
Anthony’s Take: It’s good to see that the FAA and airlines are being proactive to try to minimize the negative impact to flights in what could be the busiest summer travel season to date. We’ll see how this plays out this summer.
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