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NEWS Last modified on January 27, 2015

FAA identifies constraints and improvements at US airports

Chicago O'Hare Chicago O'Hare

The third edition of a US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report on long-term airport capacity needs concludes the FAA and airport operators must rely on NextGen technologies and procedures as well as runway improvements "to address future airport capacity constraints".

The Future Airport Capacity Task (FACT3) report identified airports that are at risk for significant delays and congestion through 2020 and 2030 in the US.

FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta, says in the report there is work to do, and its “vital that active airfield work continue at key hubs like Chicago O’Hare and Philadelphia international airports if we are to keep pace with demand and stay ahead of delays”.

While the FAA says capacity and delays have improved nationally, Huerta says there are a handful of airports with consistent delays – most notably John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark, Philadelphia, and in the coming years, San Francisco.

New or reconfigured runways can effectively improve capacity at airports with significant constraints, the report notes.

NextGen technologies and procedures can provide helpful, but modest improvements to airport capacity and can help optimize the efficient movement of flights to and from a new runway.

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, comments: “Ensuring that we have adequate airport infrastructure is critical to the efficient operation of the national air transportation system.

“Keeping the aviation industry abreast of current and future airport capacity needs will put everyone in the best position to plan for the future.”

Philadelphia International AirportPhiladelphia International Airport

For the rest of this decade, much of the US hub airport system has sufficient capacity the reports says – except for several high-demand airports that have consistent delays.

Since the previous FACT reports were released in 2004 and 2007, the construction of new and extended runways at 15 busy hub airports has enhanced airport capacity it says.

The report concluded that the aviation community and the FAA should continue to focus on improving capacity, reliability, and predictability at the consistently-delayed airports, including New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta and San Francisco.

FAA Administrator, Michael P. Huerta, says: “The report allows airport operators and aviation industry partners to be forward-thinking and to actively explore options based on projected travel growth at their respective airports.

“We will remain vigilant and monitor the safety and efficiency of the national airspace system.”

The FAA explains it will continue to work with airports to plan capacity projects where they are needed to mitigate congestion and delays.

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