View Single Post
Old 04-25-2007, 04:37 AM   #1  
Gets Weekends Off
Freightbird's Avatar
Joined APC: Aug 2006
Position: A300 Capt
Posts: 156
Default FedEx Says FAA Rule Could Delay Deliveries

Updated:2007-04-25 07:32:46
FedEx Says FAA Rule Could Delay Deliveries
By Alan Levin
USA Today
FedEx says that the FAA's decision to end a controversial landing procedure at the cargo carrier's Memphis hub should be reversed because it could lead to serious delays in package deliveries across the nation.
FedEx's senior vice president for air operations, James Parker, said in a letter to Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Marion Blakey that the change isn't appropriate and would lead to a significant slowdown in operations.

"The impact of this change to our 'absolutely positively overnight' service cannot be understated," Parker wrote.

On April 13, the FAA ended the practice of allowing jets landing on one of Memphis' north-south runways to fly directly over planes landing on a nearby east-west runway.

Safety investigators ruled on April 2 that the landing arrangement violated FAA rules and that it was "never properly authorized," according to an FAA memo.

The review was triggered by a Feb. 18 near-collision in which a Northwest Airlines jet flew within several hundred feet of a turboprop commuter plane that had aborted its landing on the other runway.

The FAA and unions for pilots and controllers have said that the landing practice could be altered in a way that would not cause more than minor delays.

FedEx spokesman Maury Lane said that flight delays of even a few minutes could trigger "delays in our sorting operations, which could have a negative impact on our customer service levels."

"For more than 20 years, we've landed in this configuration, and we know it's safe," Lane said.

The FedEx letter highlights the competing pressures that FAA faces between the push to reduce flight delays and the need to ensure safety. The situation in Memphis has provided a public debate over those issues as one arm of the FAA declared the landing practice illegal while another part of the agency continued to operate it.

FAA air-traffic officials met in Memphis on Tuesday to conduct a safety review of the landing pattern, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

FedEx said it could find no incidents involving the runway configuration on any of its flights. But Pete Sufka, president of the Memphis chapter of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said controllers in April 2002 witnessed a FedEx jet come within several hundred feet of another jet on a similar runway pattern.

FedEx's Lane said that the incident involved different runways and was not comparable.

The Air Line Pilots Association, which has raised concerns about similar operations at airports around the USA, believes FedEx is exaggerating its potential delays, said Larry Newman, the air-traffic safety chairman.

The FedEx letter said it was working with Northwest Airlines, the airport's largest passenger carrier, on the issue.

Northwest spokesman Roman Blahoski declined to comment on the letter and said the airline would abide by the FAA's decision.
Copyright 2007 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. All Rights Reserved.
2007-04-25 07:32:46
Freightbird is offline