FAA announces plan to avoid NYC flight delays this summer

United Airlines at LaGuardia International Airport in New York.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday announced measures to try to avoid a repeat of disruptions at airports serving New York and Washington, D.C. this summer as it battles a shortage of air traffic controllers at a key site in the area.

The agency said it would reduce airline takeoff and landing requirements to avoid congestion. Airlines have until April 30 to apply for a waiver of the use of takeoff and landing seats.

The waiver will be valid from May 15 to September 15.

Airline executives have repeatedly complained about air traffic control deficiencies that have contributed to flight disruptions as air travel has rebounded from pandemic lows in the past few years. Airlines also cut their schedules last summer to avoid delays as they dealt with their staffing and other issues.

The FAA said delays are expected to increase in the New York area this summer compared to last year, forecasting a 45% increase in delays on a 7% increase in operations.

United Airlines said it would seek to waive certain runway usage at New York’s three major airports and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. In a letter to Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen on Wednesday, United said it would use planes with more seats to make up for the cut in flights and offer alternative flights to affected customers.

Delta Air Lines welcomed the FAA measures.

“Delta is reviewing our network to provide the best possible customer experience during the summer travel season, and we are committed to working with the FAA on measures to ensure the safety and efficiency of operations at New York and New Jersey airports,” the carrier said in a statement. .

Later this month, the FAA will hold a summit with airlines to discuss other ways to address disruptions in the area. Last year, a similar event was held in Florida as air passengers had to deal with delays due to bad weather, high demand and traffic jams due to issues such as space launches and military exercises.

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