Planners Hope To Cope With Inauguration Air Traffic


Unprecedented crowds are expected in Washington, D.C., next Tuesday for the presidential inauguration events, and that will lead to unprecedented air traffic problems, especially on Wednesday. “People will be trickling in over the weekend, and all coming out on the 21st,” Tad Hutcheson, a spokesman for AirTran Airways, told the Chicago Tribune. AirTran and other airlines have boosted traffic into Washington’s two main airports by 20 percent, and Delta is planning to fly Boeing 767s into Reagan National, the closest airport to the Mall, which usually accommodates smaller airliners and private jets. At Dulles, Baltimore-Washington International, and several local GA fields, taxiways will be used as parking areas for transient aircraft. AOPA is inviting GA pilots to fly in to Frederick, Md., AOPA’s home base, about 50 miles from downtown D.C., and take the train to the city. The FAA has imposed extra restrictions for pilots flying in either the ADIZ or the Flight Restricted Zone; go to the FAA Web site for full details. The FAA makes clear that erring pilots will not be tolerated: “Pilots who do not adhere to the following procedures may be intercepted, detained and interviewed by Law Enforcement/Security Personnel,” the notice reads.

In addition, the FAA may impose civil penalties and suspend or revoke airmen certificates, or the U.S. government may pursue criminal charges, or may use deadly force against the airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat.