Sunday, November 30, 2008

Express Lanes Huh ?

So, how are those “express lanes” working out ? (Click to enlarge)

Just in case you forgot:

Steps proposed to ease air travel congestion

President George W. Bush announced Tuesday that he's expanding the Thanksgiving express lanes this year to include military air corridors in the Midwest, the Southwest and the West Coast. That's in addition to the East Coast corridors, which were also freed up for holiday traffic last year.

That is what the President of the United States was telling you. This is what the nation’s air traffic controllers were telling you.

Doug Church, a spokesman for the air traffic controllers union, said one result of airplanes arriving faster could be more planes circling busy airports and running low on fuel.

"Our point is that they don't have a plan to get them on the ground any faster," Church said. "This plan does nothing to relieve the congestion at the airports that are the traditional hotspots."

JFK has an average delay of 3 hours and 42 minutes as I write this. The FAA -- and the President -- can blame the delays on weather but it misses the point. Or more precisely, it obscures the point. The point is, there is always weather to contend with. In winter there is fog, ice and snow. In summer it’s thunderstorms. You cannot schedule arrivals as if weather won’t ever be a factor and expect the system to function when weather does become a factor.

It’s obvious to controllers. By now, it ought to be obvious to you too.

Don Brown
November 30, 2008

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