FAA pledges to work with airlines to fix Florida’s air traffic delays

May 4, 2022

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Some relief could be coming to Florida’s skies after large amounts of air traffic control-related delays in recent months.

The Federal Aviation Administration just wrapped up what it called a “productive” meeting in the state that included airlines, general aviation groups and unions about what can be done to reduce ATC delays in the skies over the Sunshine State, according to an agency statement.

Airlines have been increasingly vocal about the issue, which was viewed as a trigger for a Southwest operational meltdown last October. Executives from JetBlue, Southwest and Frontier all mentioned it prominently during earnings calls last month.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter.

During the two-day gathering, airlines told the FAA that they will expect to continue boosting flight schedules to Florida. In response, the FAA said pledged that it will increase the authorized staffing “immediately” for the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center — known in the industry by its identifier, ZJX.

The ZJX facility handles high-altitude traffic and sequences traffic for destinations throughout the state. It has been acutely affected by staffing issues in recent years as older controllers retire and COVID-19 slows down the agency’s ability to train new and transferring controllers. There is a caveat to this, however. While a staffing increase is a big deal for an air-traffic facility, it takes years for controllers to train and certify once they arrive at the facility — including existing controllers who transfer from other facilities.

ZJX is Jacksonville Center, an enroute facility covering airspace in Florida and the Southeastern U.S. (Photo courtesy of MIT Lincoln Laboratory)

The FAA will also create what’s known as a “playbook” that addresses the Florida’s myriad issues that can spark delays — everything from staffing to convective weather (thunderstorms), rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center and military activity. It’s a tactic the agency already has put to use in the crowed airspace around metro New York, where three of the nation’s busiest airports operate within a few miles of each other. The FAA will work with airlines and general aviation groups to develop its new Florida playbook. It’s expected to include pre-made routings that can be easily filed and other measures the agency hopes can add more predictability to air traffic operations in Florida when these events happen.

More: Space ships, storms and other reasons your Florida flight could be delayed this summer

In its statement, the FAA said that the meetings will continue.

“The agency will continue meeting with all users of the Florida airspace throughout the summer to continually improve the operational efficiency of the system,” the agency said.

Featured photo of air traffic controllers at Miami International Airport (MIA) in 2017 by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.