...Or Symbolic Of A National Trend?
The Palm Beach situation could be a microcosm of the double-whammy effect of 9/11 on both commercial and private aircraft operations. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, corporate aviation traffic is up by 25 percent at PBI, largely because of the increased hassle and inconvenience of commercial air travel caused by beefed-up security precautions. At the same time, airline numbers are recovering to pre-9/11 levels and the inevitable result is too many airplanes trying to use the same facilities. White said he's unaware of any other airports imposing arrivals restrictions. In January, the FAA ordered United Air Lines and American Airlines to cut a total of 62 flights to Chicago O'Hare during peak hours to reduce delays. Other areas are also noticing a significant increase in private aircraft use. While airline business travel is still off by 20 percent at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, corporate jet operations now account for a third of the flights at the airport. "We see a business jet resurgence in the West," Amanda North, regional vice president for Executive Jet Management, told the San Jose Business Journal. But it's not only turbofans that are powering the corporate-aviation upsurge. The News-Herald of Willoughby, Ohio, found local businessmen who have been obtaining or renewing pilots licenses so they can fly themselves to appointments. They told the newspaper that convenience, efficiency and easier access via small airports were behind their decisions to get into the left seat.