The Department of Transportation has decided to try its hand at air traffic control for what is expected to be a summer-like jam-packed air trave season for the upcoming winter holidays.
Secretary Pete Buttigieg has sent a letter to airline executives, advising them that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) research showed that over-water routes between North Carolina and Florida were under-utilized during the winter of 2021 holidays. As a result, Buttigieg is encouraging airlines to use more routes that travel over the Atlantic Ocean when flying south.
The DOT and FAA strongly believe this will help alleviate some of the crowded flight patterns that led to numerous delays and cancellations over the past summer, following a huge surge in air travel from the pent-up demand of the pandemic for almost two years.
Thus, Buttigieg is asking airlines to react according both with route planning and the equipment they use.
"The FAA has determined that over-water Atlantic Routes between North Carolina and Florida were under-utilized this past winter season, even during times of high congestion, because some aircraft were not equipped to fly them," Buttigieg wrote.
The DOT and FAA fear that the number of flyers for the holidays, combined with destinations that are a lure for vacationers in the winter trying to escape colder climates, combined with the amount of flights that traditionally fly to Florida in the winter, will signal another round of problems similar to summer.
Buttigieg wrote that he is trying "to help avoid delays, we strongly encourage you to ensure your fleets traveling to and from Florida are equipped to use these."
To take more routes over the water instead of over land, or hugging the coast, airplanes need to have extra equipment including more lift rafts onboard in the event of a water landing.
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