Failures

by Joseph Weisenthal


Filed Under:
aviation, faa



Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting For The FAA To Solve Nation's Air Transport Woes

from the the-sky-is-still-falling dept

The expanded use of private and smaller regional jets has been hard on the nation's air travel system, because these planes use up infrastructure at a level that's disproportionate to the number of passengers they carry. Of course, the problems we've seen all summer only heighten the appeal of private air travel, further exacerbating the problem. Making matters worse is the fact that the FAA has shown no inclination to find innovative solutions. As Lynne Kiesling points out, there are a number of creative solutions out there that could mitigate the problem, none of which are really being pursued. Airlines could be forced to bid on landing rights, for example, which would force companies to prioritize their routes in a positive manner. As it is, landing fees are based on weight, which doesn't account for the longer time small planes spend on the runways. It's also been argued that the GPS system could do a better job of monitoring traffic than the existing radar systems, but plans to go down this route have stalled due to politics. Ultimately, there's no reason to expect the FAA to be innovative. It doesn't face any market pressure and there's no risk of it going under if it doesn't adapt. Instead, the only solution pushed is to encourage airlines to stop using small planes, which isn't very creative at all. All that would do is reduce options for customers, particularly those on less-traveled routes.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    anonymous coward, 15 Aug 2007 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Capacity

    I think you have a very good point about the runway scheduling being a fundamental constraint. From what I have read about the NexGen system, it claims to be able to increase the number of takeoffs and landings per hour by allowing the planes to be spaced more tightly. But certainly there is some limit in that direction. I just don't know how close we are to it at the moment.

    High speed rail is a pretty expensive solution, given where we are at right now, and kind of inflexible and slow to respond to changes in demand if you don't already have suitable track in place for the new route. Perhaps it is a good solution, but perhaps there are better ones. I don't know what might be better, but I'd not like to focus on one solution too quickly, before there has been enough effort by enough creative people to be confident that we've identified most viable solutions. Of course, knowing when to stop studying and start solving is an art, and one relatively few people have mastered.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.