Last updated: 03:31 PM ET, Tue July 05 2016

Are Faster Flights Being Delayed by Politics?

Airlines & Airports | Janeen Christoff | July 05, 2016

Are Faster Flights Being Delayed by Politics?

Photo courtesy Thinkstock. 

Saving travelers time – especially getting them off of airplanes faster – is a win for both travelers and the environment, but why have some airports adopted "Required Navigation Performance" and some haven’t? As is often the case, it comes down to what happens in Washington D.C., noted the East Oregonian.

A system that is in place at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is getting flyers onto the ground after a flight more quickly. But nearby Portland International is still suffering from delays. Why is this? Gridlock in Washington, D.C.

One suggestion to fix this problem is to take some of the control out of the hands of the FAA, which faces a lot of political maneuvering in Congress.

“Spin the air traffic control system out of the FAA, into a separate nonprofit jointly managed and funded by those who use it. Such a move would break the political gridlock that’s taken hold of America’s skies — and ensure that those traversing them benefit from the most up-to-date aviation technology,” wrote the East Oregonian in its opinion section.

The paper also suggested that this would serve to streamline air travel and air traffic control.

“Fewer than 130 miles separate Sea-Tac and Portland International. But technologically, they’re light years apart. Replacing our nation’s antiquated air traffic control model would help narrow that gap — and make air travel for all Americans safer, faster, and more environmentally friendly,” said the paper.

There are several advantages to Required Navigation Performance. Not only is it getting people on the ground faster but it’s also a step forward toward the “greening” of the airline industry. A report from Boeing, released in 2015, shows that taking these “Greener Skies” initiatives have proven effective for both reducing carbon emissions as well as reducing flight times. However, with PDX as an example, progress is clearly being slowed by politics.

For more on how erasing political gridlock could result in faster flights, read the full opinion in the East Oregonian.


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