A United Airlines seen at New York’s LaGuardia International Airport.
Adam Jeffrey | CNBC
The Federal Aviation Administration announced measures on Wednesday to try to avoid a repeat of disruptions at airports serving New York and Washington DC this summer as it grapples with a shortage of air traffic controllers at a key facility in the region.
The agency said it would reduce flight requirements for airline take-off and landing rights to avoid traffic congestion. Airlines have until April 30 to file requests to give up take-off and landing slots.
The exemption would last from May 15 to September 15.
Airline executives have repeatedly complained about air traffic control shortcomings contributing to flight disruptions as air travel returned from pandemic lows in recent years. Last summer, airlines also cut their schedules to avoid delays as they dealt with their own staffing issues and other constraints.
The FAA said it expects an increase in delays in the New York area this summer compared to last year, predicting a 45% increase in delays with 7% growth in operations.
United Airlines said it would seek a waiver for certain uses of take-off and landing quotas at the three largest airports in the New York area and at 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 compensate for the reduced number of flights and offer alternative flights to affected customers.
Delta Airlines applauded the FAA’s measure.
“Delta is reviewing our network to ensure the best customer experience throughout the summer travel season and we are committed to working with the FAA on measures to ensure safe and efficient operations at NY/NJ airports “, the carrier said in a statement. .
Later this month, the FAA will host a summit with airlines on other ways to mitigate disruption in the region. It held a similar event last year in Florida as airline passengers faced delays due to bad weather, high demand and congestion from issues such as space launches and military exercises.