American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have indicated they will cut the number of flights operating into and out of the New York City area this summer due to a shortage of air traffic controllers.
JetBlue Airways also indicated it will also cut back at its New York City home.
Airlines will need to upgauge the type of aircraft flying into the region to minimize the shortage of seats
The FAA estimates it only has around 55% of the air traffic controllers it needs for the area. Training takes time.
The FAA issued this report:
The FAA anticipates a busy summer air travel season to and from New York City, some of the country’s most complex and congested airspace. To ensure safe and smooth operations, the agency’s Air Traffic Organization held a productive meeting today with airlines, general aviation representatives and associations and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to discuss ways to minimize impacts to passengers.
Participants discussed traffic flow management strategies, system resiliency and facility staffing. Operators requested collaboration and communication with the FAA early and often to plan for circumstances that could result in delays, including weather events, space launches and military operations. They discussed how closer collaboration and frequent air traffic updates would help them more effectively schedule crews.
They also requested increased coordination between facilities to take advantage of alternate routes, such as deep water routes.
The FAA discussed efforts to reduce the air traffic controller training backlog at many FAA air traffic facilities, but pointed out that staffing levels at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (N90) continue to be below targets. The agency stressed that it will be more flexible to safely accommodate the projected increase in demand this summer. The agency will be more proactive regarding traffic management initiatives.
The agency is reviewing the feedback from participants and will identify actions to improve operations this summer in the New York area.
The summit was similar to the one hosted in Florida last year that resulted in measures to improve efficiency in another high-demand area.
The agency has already taken several steps in anticipation of the increased demand. It recently announced that it will give airlines flexibility on slot usage requirements. In turn, the FAA expects airlines to take actions minimizing impacts on passengers, including operating larger aircraft to transport more passengers and making sure passengers are fully informed about any possible disruptions.