Last Week’s Poll Results: Airlines Have Some Sympathy (Corrected)


Last week we asked whether airlines should get airspace priority and a thin majority of AVweb readers disagreed with that premise.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. I remember being sent around the hold a few times at London Stansted during instrument training in a Piper Seneca 30+ years ago to allow a couple of airliners to land first. Fair enough I suppose but it was costing me about $10 a minute (1989 dollars, converted from UK Sterling). Turned out to be my most expensive training day ever (including landing fees) while I was making basically nothing. Didn’t feel good!

  2. Either this headline is wrong, or I’m completely out to lunch. The poll results show 53% of respondents voting “No” to the question of whether scheduled airlines should get airspace priority. This is the opposite of the headline.

    Personally, I think the poll question was poorly written. Scheduled airlines SHOULD get priority in areas near the large airports where they operate. The system already accommodates them with designated Class B airspace.

  3. I disagree with giving the airlines or any other particular group short of needed military operations priority handling. Out of the enitre fleet of U.S. registered airplanes, what percent of those plane regularly cruise above 10,000 feet? How many aircraft regularly file IFR flights plans. How many GA aircraft need 5,000′, 8,000′ or 10,000′ runways? How many GA airpcraft need jetways and large parking lots for cars? Commercial airlines get the lion’s share of the money spent to maintain their operations in ways no “regular” user would, or could, ever use. I don’t begrudge the airlines standing in the matter but to force GA aircraft out of the ATC system is wrong. I would liken A4A’s (or is it A$A’s?) attitude to closing freeways to any other traffic than busses, tractor trailer rigs and business vehicles.

    I am concerened that GA will be squeezed “from below” by UAV delivery vehicle and further “from above” by the airlines leaving less and less for GA. The U.S. is as big as Europe. There is plenty of room for everyone without exclusion. Further, gate access is a problem for airlines simply because they often want to be a the same place at the same time.

    Flying suffers enough from airport closures, high fuel prices and regulation that adversely impacts aircraft production and producing new pilots. Some things do need to change but don’t set by idly while the next guy take our ability to fly, bit by bit by bit.

    Lastly, the survey seems to inidcate that 77% said no priority should be given or done only in exceptional cases. Only 11% thought is was for the greater good to prioritize particular classes of flying. While there seems to widespread agreement on this matter, I’m not so sure that the FAA will lends it’s ear to our concerns as might otherwise for the airlines.

  4. I think one of the problems is trying to schedule too many flights onto one piece of concrete. Lets say a runway with proper spacing can land 30 planes per hour.
    Then they should set a limit of 25 knowing the planes are not exactly on schedule. This way less delays and less issues, as well as not being vectored in sequence for a 15 mile final. When ever I flew into a major airport with the Airbus 320 I watched the fuel and almost every time we burned an extra 500 LBS. just for spacing with other traffic.
    Yes : I realize that would mean fewer direct flights. But the delays and fule savings would be worth from my perspective.

    • A 15 mile final is pretty much the sweet spot for running a minimum spaced, efficient final at a busy airport. Inside of about 12 miles, it is a lot more difficult to nail the interval – same for much outside of 20 miles.

      • HI KP,
        With a few less planes , spacing wouldn’t be so critical. Wasting 500 LBS or approx. 100 gallons on most arrivals is very frustrating.

  5. “GA” means different things. I visualize Pipers, Cessnas, and Bonanzas. However, Kingairs, Citations, and Gulfstreams also use the airspace, and they are higher performance, and sometimes need use of Class B airspace. I would think thrice, if I wanted to take my Ercoupe to land at LAX in the afternoon, just to say, “It’s MY airspace, too!” Use of common sense has left us lately, and these pointing fingers help no one. Calm down, and think…

  6. Bad Headline caption–“Some sympathy”?
    53% said “No–first come, first served”
    24% said no, but some consideration for “exceptional circumstances.
    That’s a combined NEGATIVE of 77%! If you add in “sometimes” at 10%–that’s 87%–leaving only 11% for “Yes, Greater Good” and 2% “other”

    I’d say that a better headline would be “The vast majority of responders were not sympathetic to providing airlines with priority handling.”

  7. The Airlines, if given the chance, would push anyone else out of the airspace– they desire to “Own the sky” just like trucking companies would desire to rid the highways of personal vehicles.
    The Oceans are full of sharks, and the World is full of assholes!
    People that want/desire to be in charge, and tell other people how to live. Watch out for these people.
    ATC services should be “first come, first served” based….except Life Flight, National security type flights.
    Where someone’s life hangs in the balance. The FAA needs to stand up for the little guy, and not allow the Airlines to rule the sky.

  8. Personally,i don’t mind the airliner going first,the democratics of it,a half dozen people with myself in a piston,and maybe 200 in the airliner,plus the fuel consumption difference.

  9. “Last Week’s Poll Results: Airlines Have Some Sympathy (Corrected)” Corrected?

    Q: If candidates in an election received the following percentages of votes, would Candidate A have won by a landslide?

    Candidate A: 53%
    Candidate B: 24%
    Candidate C: 11%
    Candidate D: 10%

    Ans.: In the context of U.S. elections, a victory margin of 29 percentage points over its nearest competitor (Candidate B with 24% of the votes) would generally be considered a LANDSLIDE victory.