Interesting things are brewing over at JFK. The FAA appears to finally be interested in taking a more proactive stance at solving delays. (Fingers crossed.) Since the problem is amplified during the summer, they’ve gone ahead and requested summer schedules from the airlines to be delivered by October 11 this year for the airport. Newark is on the list as well. This is a good step, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll take action to fix the problem. They may just watch it happen way in advance. (I hope not.)
We do see airlines starting to come public with their plans for next summer already. Delta came out with an ambitious new schedule that is supposed to reduce flights by 6% during the most congested hours. They’ll do that by shifting flights to other times. For example, flights to the closest parts of Europe, which I take to mean the British Isles, will leave during a later bank of flights after the rush. They’re also going to be flying bigger planes so that they push more passengers through the old crumbling walls of their terminals.
Of course, Delta isn’t actually reducing flights. No. Incredibly, they’re increasing them. I’m thinking they’ll need to start trying the new vertical and roof boarding procedures I’ve shown below.
Believe it or not, they are launching 14 new destinations next summer from JFK. There are only two flights to Europe (Edinburgh and, oddly, Malaga in Spain), but there are two cities in the Middle East (Tel Aviv and Amman) and five in Africa (Dakar in Senegal, Nairobi, Lagos, Cairo, and Cape Town). They’ll also head south to Panama City, Guatemala City, Port of Spain, San Jose (Costa Rica), and Liberia (Costa Rica).
How the heck are they doing this and reducing flights during peak times? Well, I haven’t seen the actual schedules, but these can depart at different times than the afternoon Europe flights. Africa and Middle Eastern flying takes longer, so the flights can leave earlier in the day from JFK. From Atlanta, for example, Delta’s flight to Dakar leaves at 355p, early enough to beat the peak. Still, this may just end up growing the peak hours. Cool destinations for sure, but it’s not what JFK needs right now. It’s also not what Delta’s decrepit JFK terminals need now either. They’re going to be pumping 20% more available seat miles out of that place. Anyone who flew threw there this summer care to comment? It’s going to be ugly.
Don’t think Delta is the only offender here. How about this article talking about BA’s plans. EU-US open skies has apparently encouraged them to start flying from the US to points in Europe beyond the UK. Next summer they’ll start at JFK, of course, with 2 to 3 new cities using 757s. If it works, they’ll only grow from there.
If the FAA doesn’t step in, I’d avoid New York next summer.