Brookings Report Highlights Problem of National Air Traffic Delays

A recently released Brookings Institution report, "Expect Delays: An Analysis of Air Travel Trends in the United States", highlights the growing problem of air traffic delays in the U.S. Researchers indicate that the domestic hubs with the worst delays are New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta, and San Francisco. 

While delays have been increasing since 1990, there has been a slight drop in recently due to the recession. Brookings expects these delays to become worse than ever once the economy recovers, however.

Brookings' main recommendations to alleviate these problems include congestion pricing at airports, the practice of charging peak hour flights a fee to spread out the flights throughout the day, diverting short trips to high speed rail, and promoting new technologies to expand capacity in the medium-term. While these options are certainly potential solutions, Brookings does not mention or recommend other options to reduce delays, which include the addition of new airports on the periphery of metro regions, banning flights during peak hours of smaller capacity planes or those serving less distant places, among others, nor do they include NextGen as a viable congestion reducing tool for the near term.

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