It's Just So Busy!
Transportation Secretary Norman Y.
Mineta Wednesday announced new reductions in United and American
Airlines flight schedules aimed at further reducing congestion and
passenger inconvenience at Chicago’s O’Hare
Speaking to reporters in a telephone news conference, Secretary
Mineta revealed plans by United and American Airlines to reduce
their daily schedules by another 2.5 percent starting in early
June, the second time the airlines have had to trim schedules to
help reduce congestion at O’Hare.
Both airlines will reschedule the majority of targeted flights
to slower times of the day, but each also has plans to cancel a
handful of operations, Secretary Mineta said. A total of 17 United
and 12 American flights are affected by the announcement.
"No matter how you look at it, these are tough decisions for the
airlines," Secretary Mineta said. "But the consequences of doing
nothing would be worse and far-reaching," he said, noting delays at
O’Hare can impact "as many as 40 airports and thousands of
travelers nationwide in a matter of minutes."
In January, Secretary Mineta announced the airlines would trim
schedules by five percent to help cut delays. "There wasn’t
much that we could do when the weather was bad," Mineta said, but
he added the result after accounting for weather was a statistical
drop in total minutes due to delays of 25 to 30 percent and an
improvement of overall on-time arrivals by 11 percent.
"O’Hare delays for March are still high, and on-time
performance fell," the Secretary said, "but the results of our
models show that delays would have been significantly worse without
the five percent reduction."
He said the impact of the earlier
reductions is "positive but not good enough" pointing out the
latest round of cuts is meant to head off the approaching summer
storm season and an anticipated increase in vacation travel.
Secretary Mineta pledged to continue to "monitor closely the
impact of this latest round of reductions" and promised to do
"everything in our power to ensure that the process is fair to all
of our customers -- the public, the residents of the communities
served and affected by O’Hare and the airlines that
contribute so much to our American economy."
He urged continued cooperation between the airlines and his
department "to ensure that we are making the right decisions in the
best interests of the traveling public and that we do nothing to
unravel the rebounding confidence consumers have in the safety and
security of air travel."