FAA looks to solve air traffic issues for Florida flights

Increased travel, growing number of rocket launches contributing to problem, experts say

The FAA will meet with airlines in Florida next month to figure out how to deal with growing delays.

ORLANDO, Fla – Travel is booming, and the Federal Aviation Administration is trying to cut down on flight disruptions.

Next month it will meet with airlines to discuss how to keep traffic moving in the skies in Florida.

The FAA said there are multiple reasons for the delays in the Sunshine State. One of the top concerns: flights have exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

In Orlando, the FAA said service is up 100%. More people are coming to and from Florida, and that contributes to increased congestion in the already busy airspace, federal officials said.

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The FAA said there is also a higher number of operations in nearby military airspace, more frequent thunderstorm activity across the peninsula and a “stepped-up cadence of space launches.”

The agency anticipates the number of launches from Cape Canaveral will double this year.

During launches and landings, the FAA said a no-fly zone is activated. It can stretch for miles around the launch depending on the type of rocket and location.

“There can be a wide variance not only in the air space that is closed but for how long,” said Janet Tinoco, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.

Researchers at the university model data from different launches to see the impact.

“Depending on the time of the day, and where the airspace was closed, you can observe the peaks and valleys for air traffic operations,” said Carlos Castro, Director of Operations, Center for Aerospace Resilience, and Adjunct Faculty.

Castro said the airlines either stay on the ground or start dictating alternate routes.

“Obviously, that will increase the time of the fuel consumption, not to mention the impact to the customer in this case,” Castro said.

Their studies show it costs consumers time and money. The impact can vary.

‘There are various levels of impact with respect to airlines,” Tinoco said. “Anywhere from like $12,000 to, you know, cumulative impacts, to zero dollars.”

You can read the full statement the FAA provided to News 6 below:

In early May, the FAA will host a two-day meeting with airlines to discuss ways to increase the efficiency of the existing airspace structure. In recent months, a number of factors have contributed to increased congestion in the already busy airspace. These include a higher number of operations in nearby military airspace, more frequent thunderstorm activity across the peninsula, as well as a stepped-up cadence of space launches. At the same time, the number of flights scheduled for Florida’s busiest airports has rebounded to well above pre-pandemic levels. The combination of these factors leaves little margin for the system to absorb flight delays, particularly during periods of peak travel demand, such as weekends and holidays.

About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.