According to the FAA, Summer travel is expected to be relatively smooth at most of the nation’s airports. This is, in large part, due to deep capacity cuts and fewer flights.
However, one key airport that could be facing a number of delays is O’Hare International Airport. The FAA says the carriers have scheduled almost as many flights as the airport can handle in peak travel times on good-weather days, and added operations that far outstrip O’Hare’s capacity in stormy weather.
The over-scheduling is occurring in 15-minute bursts – typically at the top of the hour, when research shows flight make more money. For instance, on Thursday (6/10), American Airlines scheduled 27 flights and United scheduled 39 flights between 8 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. That’s seven more flights than the airport can handle under the best conditions. O’Hare can handle approximately 100 departures an hour, but not 66 in a 15-minute window.
FAA officials warned that congestion problems forming at O’Hare could worsen as the carriers have already announced plans to expand their schedules in the second half of 2010 — adding almost 22,000 more flights at O’Hare from July through December compared with the same period last year.
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