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Friday, April 19, 2024

FAA warns of flight delays during April 8 total solar eclipse affecting key airports

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Airline passengers should be aware that the total solar eclipse on April 8 may cause delays in aircraft arrivals and departures at some airports.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently warned that air travel could be delayed due to aircraft and drones attempting to view the eclipse (when the moon completely covers the sun) from the sky.

For example, Delta Air Lines previously announced that the eclipse would be visible on Flight 1218 from Austin to Detroit at 12:15 p.m. on April 8. The airline added that the airline will operate the flight with a large-window Airbus A220-300.

The total solar eclipse will be visible from Mexico and parts of North America. Starting at 11:07 a.m. Pacific Time in Mexico, the eclipse will cross the United States and Canada continents before disappearing over the Atlantic Ocean at 5:19 p.m. Eastern Time.

By region of the country, the eclipse will be visible at 1:40 p.m. in southern Texas, 1:51 p.m. in Arkansas, 2:00 p.m. in Illinois, 3:16 p.m. in Pennsylvania, and 3:18 p.m. in northwestern New York.

Passengers planning to fly to airports in the area of the April 8 Total Solar Eclipse should be aware of possible delays in arrivals and departures. Pictured is a view of the total solar eclipse. [Courtesy of Delta Air Lines website]

The FAA has ordered pilots that “Aircraft should be prepared for potential airborne holding, reroutes, and/or Expect Departure Clearance Times (EDCTs) that may be issued for all domestic IFR arrivals and departures.”

Airports in the area of the total solar eclipse include Burlington International Airport (Vermont), Indianapolis International Airport (Indiana), Fort Wayne Airport (Indiana), Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (Ohio), Buffalo Niagara International Airport (New York), and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (Texas).

“We anticipate increased demand for aircraft across the country to witness the eclipse,” said Kevin Morris, a Senior Technical Advisor at the Federal Aviation Administration. “So there will be more aircraft and drones in the air.” “Parking congestion at affected airports is also expected,” he added.

According to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), air traffic in affected cities spiked during the last total solar eclipse in 2017. For example, airports in Marion, Illinois, and St. Joseph, Missouri, saw a 305% and 200% increase in air traffic, respectively.

Meanwhile, aviation industry experts said, “the April 8 total solar eclipse will be the last total solar eclipse visible in North America until 2044,” and advised people to “wear protective eyewear when flying.”

BY JAESUN SUH, JUNHAN PARK [suh.jaesun@koreadaily.com]