NEW JERSEY — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer’s (NJ-5) legislation to require a GAO study of flight delays at Tri-State Area airports in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut passed the House Thursday as part of the bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill.
The New York metropolitan area has the busiest airport system in the United States and the second busiest in the world after London.
Gottheimer also wrote to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Acting FAA Administrator Polly Trottenberg asking them to make public their plans to specifically address flight delays and cancellations in the Tri-State Area this summer, and how they’re working to fix the air traffic controller shortage.
Recent Flight Delays:
- On a single day in June, nearly 30% flights were canceled, and another 30% were delayed at Newark Liberty International Airport.
- From July 2 to July 9, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, and JFK ranked top three for cancellation across the country.
- Last summer, 8% of all flights were delayed because of airline issues, and approximately 5 % were delayed because of issues with the National Aviation System, which includes air traffic control problems. Fewer than 1% were delayed because of weather.
Air Traffic Controller Shortage:
- Last month, a report from the Transportation Department’s Inspector General found that the FAA did not have a plan to address a shortage of air traffic controllers.
- The air traffic controllers’ union repeatedly found that too few employees were available.
- The FAA acknowledged that understaffing at a key facility responsible for coordinating traffic near the Tri-State Area’s three major airports could cause delays this summer.
“The Tri-State Area has been experiencing a spike in flight delays and cancellations — and nobody likes that. It hurts our families, our workers, and our economy — especially in North Jersey. Summer vacations and work travel are often planned months in advance. New Jersey families who save their hard-earned dollars for trips should not have to face repeated flight delays and costly cancellations,” Gottheimer said. “I’m extremely worried that these flight issues have become the new normal and that the FAA doesn’t have a strategy in place to respond to and mitigate the frequency of these challenges in the Tri-State Area. While determining the causes of these delays is crucial — and my legislation will address that — the FAA must also have plans in place.”