The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned the industry of staffing shortages throughout the nation as the travel and tourism industry prepares for yet another busy summer travel season. The FAA is requesting that key facilities prepare to make operational adjustments as a means of preparation.
The FAA held a meeting with the aviation industry last week as a means of brainstorming ways to manage travel this summer; especially in New York’s congested airspace and transportation hubs.
The agency is requesting that airlines cut back on the amount of offered flights to ease airport traffic during the peaks of the summer travel season.
Last year, the nation’s travel and tourism industry faced one of the busiest summer season since pre-pandemic. A multitude of airline’s experiences flight disruptions, delays, and cancellations which the FAA is trying to avoid this year.
According to the agency, this summer’s travel season is forecasted to increase by 7% in terms of traffic when compared to last year. The FAA also predicted a 45% increase in delays if airlines don’t intervene to prevent disruptions.
“The FAA is taking several steps to keep air travel to and from New York City this summer safe and smooth, even as we see strong domestic demand and a return of pre-pandemic international traffic,” the agency said in a statement.
The agency also stated that the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), or N90, located on Long Island which is responsible for organizing flights to and from John F Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport, is suffering from a severe shortage of air traffic controllers and other staff.
In a notice posted last month, the FAA revealed that the staffing throughout TRACON only covers 54% of what’s actually needed to operate smoothly during the busy summer season.
They’ve claimed that one of the main reasons for these shortages has to do with the pandemic safety measures, which impacted workforce training throughout the past three years that agencies have still yet to recover from.
The Washington Post reported “that airline executives expressed a willingness to cooperate with the agency; but, also some frustration, as they’re working to restore their own operations to pre-pandemic levels.”
Airlines have been told that they have until April 30th to make changes proposed by the FAA; United and Delta Air Lines have already stated they approve of the FAA’s proposal, and are ready to implement changes to make the season run as smoothly as possible for staff and travelers.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.