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Independence Day weekend may feel anything but liberating for air travelers this year

David Lyons, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Business News

While airlines wrestle with their own issues, they’re also concerned that air traffic control related issues remain unresolved.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which met last month with airlines serving Florida to resolve flight disruption issues, has said it is increasing staff at its Jacksonville control center so as to lower the numbers of delayed or canceled Florida flights.

In his letter, Calio said that while weather forces the FAA to institute ground delays or other traffic management initiatives that slow the system, the organization also has observed that controller “staffing challenges have led to traffic restrictions under blue sky conditions.”

Calio asserted that the Jacksonville center was still “understaffed” for 27 of the 30 days prior to the letter’s June 24 date. The result, Calio asserted, was a “crippling to the entire east coast traffic flows.”

Calio asked the agency to share its staffing plans with the airlines “so we can plan accordingly.”

Asked about developments since the May meeting with the airlines, an FAA spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Airports will be swamped

While the airlines and FAA continue to seek solutions, South Florida airports say they are girding for another round of heavy passenger traffic.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport said it expects more than 520,000 travelers to fly to and from the airport between Friday and next Wednesday.

The figure is 8% below the 2021 forecast due to fewer available airline seats, said spokeswoman Arlene Satchell.

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