When stories like this come through my reader, I tend to ignore them — after all, opening military airspace to passenger traffic has a negligible impact on congestion. The last thing I need to do is read more high-ranking officials’ vapid statements, like the president’s last fall: “We’ve got a problem. We understand there’s a problem. And we’re going to address the problem.” Thanks for clearing that up!
But I couldn’t help but chuckle at Mike Boyd’s trenchant commentary today on Transportation Secretary Mary Peters’s latest initiative:
WASHINGTON (AP) To help ease airline delays over the busy Memorial Day weekend, commercial flights off the East Coast will be able to use military airspace, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said Thursday.
“It gives airlines a fighting chance to beat delays by allowing them to plan new routes” in one of the country’s most congested aviation corridors, Peters said
Here are a couple of facts:
Fact one: The “busy” Memorial Day weekend was no busier in the skies than any other weekend. No more flights were operated compared to any other week-end. Less, actually, as some carriers – such as Southwest – flew reduced schedules in the middle of the period. There was no more – or less – potential for delayed flights than any other day.
Fact two: Delays are driven by Ms. Peters’ incompetently managed, understaffed, and under-planned ATC system. Delays are not the result of high passenger volumes – and it’s inexcusable for a person in her position to not know better. Or worse, try to mis-inform the public. To act as if she’s trying to help the airline industry with “their” delay problem is like Mrs. O’Leary’s cow giving lectures to the Chicago Fire Department.