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FAA is establishing quicker, high-altitude flight paths to bypass congestion along the East Coast

May 2, 2023: The Federal Aviation Administration has established almost 170 new flight maps that are shorter and faster, which aims to cut down on congestion in the eastern U.S.

On Monday, it’s part of an effort from the FAA and airlines to design high-altitude route directions for planes, the agency said.

The FAA launched the 169 new routes in the previous week and is abandoning older ones, longer and zigzagged more. Those longer routes are designed for planes relying on ground-based radar rather than the GPS that modern aircraft use. The new ones will be more direct.

The new paths are primarily above 18,000 feet when aircraft are cruising and aim to decrease crowding on popular routes. Some new ways are over the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

“The change is helping prevent delays by providing the agency more ability to direct traffic to especially routes based on the aircraft’s destination,” the FAA said. “When weather occurs, controllers will also have better flexibility. Hence, lesser converging points and more simple flows enhance safety.”

The FAA assumed that the latest routes would yearly reduce about 6,000 minutes of travel time.

The change comes before the summer travel season, which airline executives anticipate to be busy. Pressure from the airline industry has piled on the FAA to address congestion and postpones, though airline staffing issues have played a role in exacerbating disruptions.

In the previous year, 1.7 million flights, more than 20% of those managed by U.S. airlines, were delayed, increased from 1.5 million, or the latest 16% of flights, in 2019, before the pandemic, the flight-tracking site FlightAware. According to the site’s data, 22% of U.S.-airline-operated flights have been postponed until this year.

Some new routes are for flights to and from Florida, where airlines encounter obstacles such as frequent thunderstorms, military activity and space launches. The previous month, the FAA said it would consider airline flight disruptions when approving rocket establish.

“American has much been a proponent of unlocking extra high-altitude routes along the East Coast, and we are optimistic they will have huge benefits for our customers and team people,” American Airlines COO David Seymour stated in an e-mailed statement.

Differently, several airlines, including JetBlue Airways and United Airlines, are decreasing flights in New York City and Washington, D.C., as of the FAA’s shortage of air traffic to control, part of a plan to minimise disruptions.

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