Tue, Mar 24, 2009
Includes New Approach Routes, Inclement Weather Procedure
On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it has
implemented new airspace procedures in Houston designed to move
aircraft in and out of the busy area more smoothly, helping
alleviate air traffic congestion.
The Houston Area Air Traffic System program (HAATS) is a
three-phase plan to address projected local traffic increases. The
second part was implemented March 12.
Flights headed to Houston from the northeast can now use another
arrival route, which allows controllers to guide flights into
Houston Intercontinental (IAH) in dual streams -- one used for low
performance prop and turboprops, and the other for large and
When the airspace gets busy, planes can be moved over to the
second route, which should cut delays in the high-altitude en route
For flights headed east out of the Houston area, FAA developed a
new departure route and modified an existing one. Now there are
three eastbound departure routes, where there was one to the east
and one to the southeast.
The changes also included a new severe weather avoidance
procedure route at the southeast corner post. The route will allow
the Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center to keep aircraft
moving when thunderstorms block another arrival route into the
The agency plans to implement the third and final element of
HAATS next summer. It will make changes to the airspace on the west
side of Houston. The first phase began in 2002 with structural
changes necessary to make the airspace changes possible.
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