DALLAS — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is planning to improve the coordination of hourly schedules for its employees at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). This plan comes in response to the addition of slot waivers and the need to address the airport’s poor on-time performance.
The new plan aims to reduce congestion at the airport by implementing limits on hourly schedules. Currently, air traffic controllers, who are already facing staffing shortages, are expected to handle 79 takeoffs and landings per hour. However, even with these scheduling limits, the airport’s on-time performance remains one of the worst in the nation.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), EWR has ranked 4th with the highest percentage of flights canceled. Moreover, an 18-month FAA analysis revealed that air traffic controllers handled 88 operations per hour, leading to chronic delays and cancellations due to congestion.
To address the issue, the FAA intends to adjust the guidelines downward for eight months, starting in March, according to a report by travelpulse.com. To achieve their goal, the FAA is seeking voluntary cooperation from airlines.
United Airlines (UA), which operates EWR as one of its hubs, has expressed its commitment to being more conservative with its takeoffs and landings at the airport. UA CEO Scott Kirby has been critical of the FAA and its scheduling of air traffic controllers, noting that the airport’s current flight schedules exceed its physical infrastructure capacity.
Featured image: N27964, United Airlines BOEING 787-9, KEWR EWR. Photo: Yifei Yu/Airways