Air traffic to Florida picked up more quickly during the pandemic than many other places, and airlines have scheduled even more flights for this summer. That is raising concern about the potential for massive disruptions that could ripple far beyond the state’s borders.
The FAA said it also agreed to update airlines more often about space launches and other events that can squeeze routes airlines use over Florida. Airlines say they have been caught off guard by route closings, forcing them to cancel flights.
Most noteworthy, Southwest Airlines blamed bad weather and air traffic control in Florida for cascading problems that led it to cancel more than 2,000 flights over three days last October. JetBlue Airways blamed those and other factors for widespread cancellations last month.
The FAA said it will make more use of alternate routes — sometimes at lower altitudes, which would increase fuel burn — to keep planes moving after disruptions. The agency said it will also develop a plan for responding to snarls, similar to what it does in the New York City area.