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ACAA Participates in US DOT Task Force to Address Lengthy Aircraft Ground Delays

ALLEGHENY COUNTY AIRPORT AUTHORITY PARTICIPATES IN US DOT TASK FORCE TO ADDRESS LENGTHY AIRCRAFT GROUND DELAYS

PITTSBURGH, PA (April 23, 2008) — Allegheny County Airport Authority Executive Director Bradley D. Penrod, AAE, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to be a member of the National Task Force to Develop Model Contingency Plans to Deal with Lengthy Airline On-Board Ground Delays.

With the busy summer travel season around the corner, thunderstorms are often the cause of ground delays in many cases stranding passengers in aircraft on the tarmac. The Allegheny County Airport Authority has made helping passengers a top priority and is working toward a solution to this problem on the task force.

“With summer approaching, we want to have concrete recommendations that the US Department of Transportation can move forward on. Weather cannot be controlled and unexpected incidents can cause delays. Therefore, model contingency plans are important. Airlines, airports, air traffic control, we all need to work together to make the system more responsive to travelers,” stated Bradley D. Penrod, Executive Director/CEO, Allegheny County Airport Authority.

The task force is reviewing incidents involving long, on-board ground delays and their causes and will recommend workable solutions for minimizing the impact of these delays for the on-board passengers. Task Force members represent a cross-section of the agencies, organizations, and individuals that deal with lengthy tarmac delays, including airlines, airports, pilots, associations, and the government. The first meeting was held in February and the second meeting is schedule for later this month in Washington, DC.

Some measures underway by the DOT include:

  • Working on regulations to help passengers know what to expect when they book a flight, allow DOT to step up oversight of chronically delayed flights, and enhance protections for consumers who are bumped, experience delays or have complaints against airlines.
  • Creating holiday fast lanes with the cooperation of the Department of Defense that could also be used at other times.
  • In the short term, putting temporary caps in place in the New York region.
  • Redesigning the airspace.
  • Expanding capacity and modernizing the FAA’s air traffic control system
  • Working toward long-term solutions to minimize delays and their impacts on travelers.

Pittsburgh International Airport often is tapped to accept diverted flights from the congested east coast airports during inclement weather, primarily due to its excellent airfield configuration, its high quality air traffic control services and its success record of keeping the airport open during periods of heavy snow or rain.

“Pittsburgh International Airport is well positioned to be designated as a focal point to accommodate irregular operations for airlines and air traffic,” said Penrod. “This is an excellent opportunity to assist in improving the level of customer service to the traveling public.”

Apr 22, 2008

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