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Sat, Jul 15, 2006

FAA Intro's System Aimed At Reducing Flight Delays

Should Mean Fewer Diversions, Delays For Storms

If you're afraid your commercial flight may be delayed this summer by thunderstorms, take heart: on Thursday, the FAA introduced its Airspace Flow Program, which should mean more on-time flights during the stormy travel season.

The Orlando Sentinel reports under the program, airlines will be allowed to fly into airports affected by bad weather, just as long as their flight path doesn't intersect the storm. Under the previous system, the FAA would usually ground all flights to and from an affected airport, regardless of how close those flights would actually come to the storms.

With the new system -- which is being tested in the Northeast now, with other regions expected to receive the software by this time next year -- as long as an approach-departure corridor is available away from the storms, most flights should be able to land and depart as scheduled.

"It allows us to target specifically those flights that would have to fly through the bad weather and only delay those flights," FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said.

The agency says the new system could save airlines and travelers $900 million during the next 10 years, in reduced delays and fuel costs.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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