News Article - March 4 2006

FAA Urged To Address Flight Delays At PIA
  (AP) PHILADELPHIA Business leaders are urging the Federal Aviation Administration to adopt a new regional air traffic routing system to reduce flight delays at Philadelphia International Airport. Over the last four years, Philadelphia’s airport has ranked at or near the bottom in on-time airline departures and arrivals. With more than 535,000 arrivals and departures in 2005, it is the ninth-busiest airport in the United States and the world, according to the trade group Airports Council International.

   The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Council for Growth, in a letter sent Friday to FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey, states that “it is imperative that Philadelphia not be shortchanged in the allocation of routings” for air traffic. The group wants the FAA to know business leaders believe flight delays are reaching unacceptable levels, and an efficient airport is essential to the region’s growth, said Mark S. Schweiker, president of the chamber and chairman of the CEO Council.

   “If you can get people in and out, you’re going to do more business and there’s an economic reward for our residents,” he said. The FAA for six years has been looking at ways to speed up the flow of aircraft to and from Philadelphia International and four airports in the New York area: Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark and Teterboro, N.J.

   In a preliminary report released in December, the FAA outlined four “airspace redesign” alternatives, including one that could increase flights over Delaware County by increasing from three to six the number of paths that planes could follow after takeoff from Philadelphia. The CEO Council, in its letter to the FAA, endorsed that alternative as “the most promising” for cutting delays. The FAA expects to recommend one of the four alternatives next year but hasn’t said when it would roll out any changes, spokesman Jim Peters said.

   The agency has scheduled four public meetings from March 27 through March 30 in Paulsboro, N.J.; Wilmington, Del.; Philadelphia and Ridley Township to explain the redesign alternatives and answer questions.

Source - CBS 3