TAMPA. Florida – The unofficial start of summer is approaching, which means you can expect crowded airports. There is good news for those who fly: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) offers some relief to limit flight delays in Florida.
What do you want to know
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is offering some relief to limit flight delays in Florida
- The FAA has promised to add staff to major air traffic control centers throughout Florida, particularly in Jacksonville, which lacks fully certified controllers.
- Vacancies will take years to fill due to time needed to train new traffic controllers
Air flight delays have been attributed to bad weather, private jet flights and space launches. It all contributed to the worst standoff Florida has seen in years.
The FAA has promised to add staff to major air traffic control centers throughout Florida, particularly in Jacksonville, which lacks fully certified controllers.
“We are focusing on downtown Jacksonville because traffic in and out of Florida to points north of Florida all passes through downtown Jacksonville. We want to make sure that’s not a contributing factor. That’s what the team was discussing about how we can make this as efficient as possible,” said FAA air traffic controller Michael O’Harra.
It will take years to fill vacancies due to the time needed to train new traffic controllers, the FAA said.
Several different airlines were represented at a meeting with the FAA which confirmed that air travel for summer 2022 will exceed 2019 figures. The recent lifting of COVID restrictions is also adding to the busy travel season.
“Around the state of Florida, many airports are experiencing record traffic,” O’Harra said. “People may have changed their travel plans and we’re seeing more traffic in the state. We want to make sure we can move that traffic safely and efficiently.”
Local officials are calling for major upgrades to Orlando’s central terminal radar approach control facility. O’Harra says the FAA is still looking for a funding source to make this possible. He says he hopes money from the infrastructure bill will help with upgrades.
The FAA says it is following a plan similar to the one it used to ease air traffic in New York. This would help airlines plan for delays and encourage the use of alternative flight routes instead of cancelling.