AOPA Says DOT Study Proves GA Not To Blame For Delays

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Weather and the airlines' own scheduling practices continue to be the major causes of flight delays, and they won't be fixed with user fees or a modernized air traffic control system, according to AOPA President Phil Boyer. In a news release, Boyer says a Department of Transportation study shows that 40 percent of flight delays are caused by weather and 25 percent by problems within the airlines themselves, such as maintenance problems, crew shortages, baggage delays and the like. AOPA dug deeper into the report to analyze the 28 percent of delays attributable to National Airspace System delays and found 17 airports where airlines over-schedule flights. Only severe weather counts for weather delays, but delays can be caused in IMC because there are actually more flights scheduled to operate out of those 17 airports than ATC can handle under instrument rules. The airlines have been trying to blame general aviation, particularly business aircraft, for the delays as part of the attempt to have Congress invoke user fees for turbine aircraft. Both houses will consider their bills on FAA reauthorization when they resume sitting after the August break.