US President Bush announced steps to tackle air traffic congestion and reduce passenger delays over the Thanksgiving period starting late next week, the White House said on Thursday.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the Defense Department have worked together to open up air space called the Thanksgiving Express Lanes during the holiday. The White House said Bush will announce a series of decisions later on Thursday, including further steps to aid travelers whose flights are canceled or delayed.
The department has been considering increasing the fee from $400 to at least $800.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the Defense Department have worked together to open up air space along the East Coast from Florida to Maine over the five busy days of Thanksgiving holiday travel, Wednesday through Sunday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
Flights have experienced a steady rise in delays over the past year mainly due to increase in demand of flights. This has been putting strain on an aging air traffic control system. In many cases, runways, gate services and other airport facilities have been unable to effectively handle passenger loads during peak seasons.
Bush, on Sept. 27, announced that his administration was looking at ways to reduce air traffic congestion.
Already 27 million passengers are expected to fly from today until the end of the Thanksgiving Day holiday travel season . Due to the criticism airlines have received for over scheduling flights, airlines have agreed to add extra staff and planes to ensure efficient flow of flights.