You’re at the airport with your family on your way to your vacation destination. Or you’re a business traveler flying across the country for an important business meeting. The last thing you want to deal with is an unexpected, lengthy delay.
Most times, delays result from bad weather patterns. However, there are proactive steps that can be taken to reduce delays. I’m pleased to tell you that the FAA is doing just that.
Earlier this week, I joined Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to announce the elimination of flight caps at O’Hare. In 2004, we capped O’Hare arrivals at 88 during most hours of the day. Since that time, both the FAA and the City of Chicago have worked to add capacity to the airport. We have extended an existing runway, and constructed a new runway that will open in November. Together, these will allow for an additional 4-5 arrivals per hour at O’Hare. That may not sound like a lot, but this small number will go a long way towards reducing delays by giving us much-needed additional capacity to accommodate the small increase in flights.
I also announced that O’Hare has been designated as an International Air Transport Association (IATA) Level 2 airport, which will require air carriers to continue providing their schedules six months in advance. This will allow the FAA to aggressively monitor potential congestion and take appropriate actions to mitigate congestion.
This means better service not only for travelers going to Chicago, but for anyone connecting through that city to their final destination. And in addition to increasing capacity, these moves will enable airlines to adjust their winter schedules to respond to evolving market conditions.
The high cost of fuel has hit consumers hard, resulting in higher airfares. However, the airlines have been hit as well, and are trying to offset higher fuel costs by trimming their payroll and increasing fees. By adding capacity and reducing delays, we have taken an important step that will bring much-needed relief to all Americans who rely on air transportation.
-Acting Administrator Robert Sturgell