Newsflash -- GA Is Affected By Wx Delays, Too
In the illusion trade, they call it misdirection -- a form of
deception, where the attention of the audience is focused on one
thing in order to distract attention from what is really
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association says the airlines'
trade organization -- the Air Transport Association (ATA) -- has
become particularly adept at misdirection. ATA continues to blame
general aviation for air traffic control (ATC) delays in an attempt
to change the tax system to the benefit of the airlines.
Consider the news ATA put out on earlier this month, calling for the imposition of ground
delays at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport and other New
York-area satellite airports. AOPA says the ATA's "carefully
worded" news release suggests FAA-mandated ground delays at John F.
Kennedy International, La Guardia, and Newark Liberty International
airports don't apply to corporate aircraft flying from the area's
The only problem is, AOPA says, that's not true. When regional
weather is bad, corporate aircraft flying out of Teterboro and
other airports are subject to the same ground delays and ground
stops as the airlines. They have been for years.
For example, on July 4 the FAA issued a ground delay affecting
all aircraft departing Teterboro (TEB), Westchester County (HPN),
Kennedy (JFK), and La Guardia (LGA) airports. It wasn't just the
airlines that had to accept departure delays because of
thunderstorms in the Northeast. There was a similar ground delay
imposed on June 29 for all aircraft departing Teterboro (TEB),
Westchester (HPN), Kennedy (JFK), La Guardia (LGA), Newark (EWR),
and Philadelphia International (PHL) airports.
And it's not just those airports that are affected. Last year,
the FAA implemented the Airspace Flow Program (AFP), covering the
northeastern United States, including New England, the mid-Atlantic
region, and parts of Ohio and Michigan.
When weather or system volume constrains the number of aircraft
that ATC can handle, any turbine-powered aircraft departing from
any airport in the United States heading for any airport in the
Northeast may be issued a ground delay.
Even AOPA President Phil Boyer has
seen his share of forced delays. On July 5, Boyer was attempting to
fly from a GA airport south of Minneapolis to AOPA's home field in
Frederick, MS -- another GA airport located well west of the
terminal airspace surrounding the airline hub airports of
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI), Ronald
Reagan Washington National (DCA), and Washington Dulles
Because of thunderstorms in the Philadelphia-New York area, ATC
issued him a three-and-half-hour ground delay.
"Regardless of what ATA wants you to think, every user of the
National Airspace System feels the pain when severe weather limits
the amount of traffic the system can handle," said Boyer. "And the
biggest issue confronting the airspace around New York is the
overwhelming number of airliners scheduled in and out of three hub
"Corporate aircraft utilizing the area's satellite airports are
routed under or around the paths flown by the airlines. And when
that won't work, they sit on the ground, too."