FAA looks to smooth out air traffic issues

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 6:56 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Travel numbers across Florida are flying sky high. It’s easy to see if you’ve flown in or out of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport lately.

“In the month of March, we were up 10% over our previous year which was the first year of really being busy,” Parker McClellan, Executive Director of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, said.

But it seems the popularity could be backing up the runway.

“Because when there is delay at one airport or one airline has to delay, it triggers throughout their system,” McClellan said. “So if your plane leaves late in the morning, that plane that entire day is going to be impacted.”

Delayed flights have become a regular thing for many fliers, especially those in the sunshine state.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the demand is soaring above 2019 levels.

“It’s important that the FAA is recognizing the need for a smooth and efficient summer operation,” McClellan said.

While frequent flying is a factor, it’s not the only cause for delays. FAA officials said staffing and weather play a part, but they’re working to make operations a little smoother.

The agency released a statement saying they’ll quote, “work with stakeholders to develop a playbook to keep aircraft moving safely when weather, space launches, or other events constrain capacity.”

The FAA has also been meeting with different users of Florida airspace to see what exactly needs tweaking for operations to run smoothly this summer.

“We applaud them for their efforts. And we will do whatever we can at the airport and I’m sure across the region to make sure we have smooth and successful summer,” McClellan said.

Looking at summer travel expectations, ECP airport officials said the sky is the limit.

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