Flight delays in the U.S. have increased, and the FAA is revamping the way it directs traffic to ease these delays. Their strategy, which is to spread out the delays more equitably, causes more aircraft to endure delays, but overall shorter ones. This means that rather than just shutting down takeoffs at big airports, FAA controllers now assign delays to flights throughout a region — or send flights on longer routes to create more space in the skies.
This system is especially significant when bad weather plays a part, such as recently when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi and then the bad weather moved northeast.
Other changes by the FAA to better manage traffic include reducing the required distance between planes from 2,000 feet to 1,000 feet vertically, doubling capacity at cruising altitude for jets. New computer programs have also recently come on-line to provide better information for controllers.
An example of the new system is the FAA has drafted 4,000 different ways to reroute flights in the U.S. between New York and Florida, a heavily-travelled route.