Home Automobile Air Traffic Control Remains Stretched Thin In New York City

Air Traffic Control Remains Stretched Thin In New York City

Air Traffic Control Remains Stretched Thin In New York City


A United Airlines airplane makes its way to a gate in front of the skyline of lower Manhattan in New York City at Newark Liberty Airport on April 8, 2023, in Newark, New Jersey.

Photo: Gary Hershorn (Getty Images)

It has been an ongoing struggle to manage commercial flights in the skies around New York City. CNN reports the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has extended the waiver on slot requirements at the area’s airports. However, the airspace transfer intended also to lessen the burden on the Big Apple’s severely-understaffed radar approach facility hasn’t happened yet despite being announced months ago.

The FAA instituted a slot requirement waiver John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports to reduce the number of flights that needed to be managed. Typically, airlines must use their takeoff and landing rights at airports 80 percent of the time to retain those slots. Major airlines appropriately operated fewer flights but with larger aircraft. Under the waiver, carriers can return 10 percent of their slots without repercussion. The agency has now extended the waiver through October 28th.

The FAA needs to reduce the flight volume because of air traffic control understaffing. A June government audit revealed that the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control is staffed at only 54 percent of the target level. According to Reuters, the facility only had eight supervisors despite being authorized to have 30. The waivers have been effective with cancellations being reduced by 40 percent compared to last year.

The FAA announced it would transfer 100 square miles of Newark’s airspace to Philadelphia’s radar approach facility to alleviate New York. The transfer has yet to happen. The measure would be a temporary fix, and the federal agency is still working with the air traffic controller union to create a long-term solution for the staffing shortage.



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