Sunday, June 27, 2010

That Was Fast



It seems like only yesterday...

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport will open a fifth runway next week, easing congestion and reducing delays at the USA's busiest airport. “

So it was a little over 4 years ago -- and an economic calamity to boot. But that didn’t stop the airlines from overscheduling the new capacity. Look at today’s headline.

Delays at Hartsfield-Jackson ripple around country

”More departure delays at the nation's major airports were attributed to Hartsfield-Jackson than to any other airport, according to a study completed last month by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. Hartsfield-Jackson is the world's busiest airport.“

We got 4 years of less delays out of a fifth runway at Atlanta. If it had been during economic boom times we wouldn’t have gotten that much. In that runways add real capacity and NextGen only adds fantasy capacity, how long do you think NextGen will decrease delays? It won’t be 5 months but let’s be generous and say it’s 5 years. At $50 billion dollars that would be a cost of about $10 billion a year. You could build 5 runways a year for that. (Atlanta’s fifth runway cost $1.28 billion.)

Or we could just restrict the number of landing slots at each airport like we should be doing anyway. Think of how much *that* would “reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions”...if they had to cut the number of flights. (Yes, I realize sarcasm doesn’t translate well in written communication.)

Should I say it? I might as well seeing as I’m already being snarky.

I Told You So.

”Of course “decrease delays” is really misleading. New runways increase capacity. It’s how you schedule their use that determines delays.“

”You see ? Atlanta is already old hat. In two years (assuming the economy improves), O’Hare will be back in the delay business -- just like Atlanta. “

Don Brown
June 27, 2010

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