The Northeast Corridor – Start Spreading the News
The same is true in our national airspace system. We make a lot of tweaks here and there that give us incremental improvements, and those are important. But to really gain efficiencies in the system, we have to take on our toughest challenges. One of those is congestion in the Northeast Corridor, and I’m happy to say that we are meeting that challenge head on.
The Northeast, that stretch between Washington and Boston, has complicated airspace, particularly around New York where there’s a lot of volume but tight space. About half the delays in our national airspace system are attributable to the Northeast Corridor, so it helps just about everyone to resolve issues there. When a thunderstorm gets thrown into the mix during severe weather season, we need a lot of tools and procedures to keep traffic moving safely. We have some parallel initiatives under way with the help of our stakeholders, and they are already starting to show dividends.
We put more focus on keeping departures moving out of New York, including lower altitude routes for aircraft flying past the area while reserving the higher altitude routes for New York departures. We’re more clearly communicating available routes and issuing precise plans ahead of time so we don’t lose momentum and fall into reaction mode. We’ve asked traffic management units across our airspace to contribute to our solutions without overwhelming a sector or airport. We’re also working with NavCanada to more effectively utilize their airspace when weather warrants it. While it’s still early in the season, so far it looks like our plans are paying dividends.
Separately, we have been working with industry stakeholders on the NextGen Advisory Committee on a range of other initiatives that are freeing up bottlenecks in the Northeast Corridor. We’re decoupling airport configurations, adding Performance Based Navigation procedures, and making other airspace design improvements while also laying the groundwork for the introduction of Trajectory Based Operations in the Northeast Corridor. This is especially challenging as we remain mindful of community concerns over route changes.
We also expect to have a job posting later this month that targets air traffic controller hiring at our New York TRACON.
I’m proud of our team and the collaborative work they have done with our partners because we aren’t shying away from one of our toughest issues. Tackling the most difficult projects even as we keep up with our more routine work is a good practice for everyone.