New runways at three of the nations busiest airports mean countless travelers will experience fewer delays and better service one week before the start of the Thanksgiving holiday travel season
These new runways are a testimony to the power of perseverance, the wisdom of foresight and the audacity of action, said Secretary Peters. Taken together, they will cut delays, improve service and help make the flying experience better for millions of travelers. The Secretary said the new runways opening today at Washington Dulles, Chicago OHare and Seattle-Tacoma International Airports would allow for an additional 330,000 take-offs and landings each year. She added that the runways, which were built with $643 million in federal airport improvement program funds, also will help reduce delays at the three airports and in other communities served by the facilities. Secretary Peters said the runways are the 12th, 13th and 14th facilities opened since December of 2001. She added that over the past eight years the federal government has invested over $50 billion in new runway and taxiway projects, new airport facilities and new air traffic control technology. Theres nothing a pilot likes more than to touch down or take off on a new slab of concrete, said Acting Federal Aviation Administrator Bobby Sturgell, a former commercial pilot who also is scheduled to attend all three openings. Secretary Peters said that the Department of Transportation also has taken 30 different actions to break the bottleneck at the three New York airports that experience record airline delays during the summer of 2007. Those measures include redesigning the regions airspace routes, setting hourly caps at two of the three airports, lowering the cap at the third and committing tens of millions of dollars to expand and improve taxiways. Our efforts have been driven by a single purpose, improving the air travel experience, Secretary Peters said. She added that earlier this week President Bush announced the opening of military airspace for the Thanksgiving holiday, as well as new proposals to protect travelers from extended tarmac delays, and increase the amount of compensation for lost baggage and a range of consumer issues. Hopefully, thanks to these new runways, travelers suffering from heartburn will have Grandmas dinner, and not their trip, to blame, said the Secretary.