Aspen’s New Airport Director is using information to address congestion issues

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aspAviation is replete with information, but the dissemination of those vital facts is sometimes uneven. The below article is an excellent example of an Airport Director’s sharing patterns of flights at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport to improve operations and enhance safety.

Recently selected to be ASE’s Director, John Kinney brings 28 years of airport management to this small airport with many of the headaches of large facility. In the past the airport tried a slot system and not surprisingly, the users “gamed” the securing of these valuable rights. Kinney has seen the battle for the runways at Los Angeles International Airport and has seen how smoothing of flight schedules reduced some of LAX’s congestion.jk

Consequently, Mr. Kinney (→) called in all three of the airlines which serve ASE, the FAA ATCT staff, the Fixed Based Operator (who is the primary link to the private aircraft flying to/from this destination) and Aspen Skiing Company. The group met for 6 hours and had “productive” discussion of the issue.

With one runway and topography which forces all flights to/from the West, there are forces which create capacity pressure. Mr. Kinney walked through some of the recent weather and/or event factors which further crowded the ASE airspace. So there are limited technical air traffic control options.

It will be interesting to see how Mr. Kinney and the ASE users work out this problem. It might be helpful to invite AOPA and NBAA (which has a desk at the FAA ATC System Control Center which helps its members through congestion) to the next meeting.

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