BEFORE THE BAY AREA EMBARKS ON REGIONAL AIR TRAFFIC REDISTRIBUTION, IT NEEDS TO BE SURE THAT THE AIRSPACE CAN HANDLE THE PROPOSED FLOW

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ARTICLE:  Bay Area Airport Committee Recommends More Flights for Oakland, San Jose

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The San Francisco Bay Area Regional Airport Planning Committee (RAPC) has analyzed the historic passenger traffic levels and has forecast the future demand for the Bay Area. Based on its assessments, RAPC recommended that the airports work together to reduce the burden on SFO and to redistribute the flights among OAK and SJC as well try to bleed the passengers back to Sonoma, Sacramento, Stockton and Monterey.

To successfully implement this great planning concept, RAPC must negotiate legal and political hurdles involved in the encouraging the movement of competitive flights from Airport A to B,C,D, etc. and in facilitating passengers from their preferred airport to an optimal point of destination are difficult. This task is easier when airport authorities, like the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, own more than one airport. Under their proprietary rights, they can legally direct traffic among their facilities, have had limited success at optimizing such distributions.

The report correctly cited the potential of NextGen as an FAA air traffic initiative which will enhance the Bay Area’s collective airspace capacity. Even that boost may not attain all of individual flow through needed to move flights from SFO to the six airports mentioned. Complexity of dense shared airspace is a calculus of a number of ATC critical factors, such as:

  • the times of arrivals and departures of the flights and schedule banks of the future schedule;
  • the unpredictable regional weather which delay or deters flight under certain meteorological conditions;
  • the flows from aircraft to/from points East of the Bay Area,
  • from flights from points of origin/destination
  • from the Pacific to/from this region, and
  • the flights up and down the West Coast traveling to/from the six airports as well as those overflying.

These factors need to be carefully assessed BEFORE RAPC moves forward to develop the tricky tactics needed to implement their planning goals. JDA is familiar with the Bay Area Airspace and has the technical experts who can make such judgments (http://jdasolutions.aero/services/airspace-analysis-obstruction-evaluation.php).

Great goals, but before RAPC devotes considerable financial, legal, political and emotional resources to making it happen, they should consider an assessment that it can happen.

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