The Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t have a good forecast for the 2023 summer season of flights. The agency expects overall delays in the New York region to increase 45% compared to summer 2022.
Last summer was bad enough with 40,000 delays recorded at the New York area airports, and over the past seven years it was last summer that had the highest yearly percentage of flights that were delayed.
The delays will be caused by a double-whammy: summer is the busiest time of year for air travel, and there is still a post-pandemic staff shortage across the board, from pilots to air traffic controllers, to maintenance workers.
JetBlue Airways is already preparing to cut weekly flights in the New York City area in response, CEO Robin Hayes told CNBC on Wednesday. The move will come at a financial cost to the airline, and others may follow suit.
To attempt mitigation, the FAA will waive a few of its slot rules at airports in NYC and DC from May 15th to September 15th. Carriers can turn in up to 10% of the slots they hold for takeoffs or landings at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airports, as well as Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in DC. The agency will also allow airlines to cut 10% of their approved operating timing at Newark Liberty International Airport. This plan is similar to what they did last year.
Carriers have until April 30 to request the waiver.
Airline responses have been positive despite what JetBlue has planned. Delta told CNBC it is “committed to working with the FAA,” and United said it will ask for a waiver for some of its slots.
Be prepared for a hectic flight season.
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