...Controllers See The Trend

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Another way to gauge recovery (albeit unscientifically) is by the number of aircraft in the air. AVweb columnist Don Brown works at Atlanta Center (ZTL) and he says record-high traffic has caught everyone's attention there. "As far as the controllers at Atlanta Center can tell, the recovery is already here," Brown told AVweb. He said it's not uncommon for special events in the Southeast (like The Masters and Sun 'n Fun) to push the traffic count to around 10,000 operations per day. But on an ordinary weekday in late April, the count hit 10,175. "I believe it to be the first time ZTL broke 10,000 operations in one day without a special event occurring in our airspace," Brown said. Brown, who is the ZTL safety representative for the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers, said a report is being prepared on the record-setting day to assess staffing levels. In the meantime, with the summer travel season approaching, there doesn't seem like there's anywhere for those figures to go but up. Stay tuned ...