Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mostly Right



AOPA is the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. There “about us” page pretty much tells it like it is.

”AOPA is the largest, most influential aviation association in the world.”

When they say largest, they mean large. Over 400,000 members. From time to time I can pick a nit or two with them but overall, they get it right. For instance, I could quibble about a few points made on this page of their web site but I won’t. I will point you to the right side of that same page. The part highlighted in blue and entitled: "Frequent lairs: Airlines hide truth about delays".

Sometimes, I wish I had a staff to do research for me. I’ve been looking for some specific data for a month and just can’t seem to nail it down. AOPA highlights one of the reasons why.

”The issue of the airlines scheduling more flights than the airport can handle is a little more difficult to tease out of the BTS statistics. More than 28 percent of airline flight delays are attributed to "national aviation system (NAS) delays."”

AOPA wasn’t looking for exactly what I’m looking for but they’re close. Real close.

”But AOPA analyzed the June airline schedules at all of the major airports. And at 17 out of 35 hub airports, the airlines have scheduled more flights during their daily "pushes" than the airports can handle in instrument weather conditions. It doesn't take a thunderstorm to delay flights all across the country. Just have visibility drop below three miles or the ceiling below 1,000 feet at one of these 17 major airports and flights will be delayed.”

“The Market” -- in all its supposed wisdom -- has decided that many of those flights will be regional jets too. Less capacity. More congestion. Now there’s a good idea. Not.

Don Brown
August 14, 2007

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