The New York air traffic problem needs to be fixed

Air traffic in New York is at its worst level in history. As demand for low cost seats continues to rise, airlines are trying to cram more and more flights into the already tight schedules that the airports require. Even with perfect weather, countless flights are delayed every day; as I mentioned earlier, over 75 percent of delays originate from the New York area airports.

The problem has gotten so out of hand that the Bush administration is attempting to curb traffic with new restrictions and guidelines. Just yesterday an advisory committee met to propose changes to the airport system, from imposing extra “high traffic” taxes to reducing the number of flights that transit during “peak” times of the day. There was a great synopsis on NPR Wednesday morning if you’re interested.

But reform is steeped in bureaucratic red tape, influenced by the commercial airline lobby, air traffic restrictions, landing slots and antiquated equipment. And while the politicians and special interest groups battle over who gets the largest piece of pie, the crisis continues.

Just this week, an Eva airlines cargo plane pulling out of an aborted landing barely missed an inbound American Eagle flight at JFK. Last week in Newark, the New York Post reports that “two planes at Newark Airport came within 300 feet of colliding.”

My fear is that we’ll only learn our lesson after a horrible mistake is made.