The FAA’s airspace optimization initiative on the U.S. East Coast is expected to bring incremental relief to constraints in business aviation travel beginning with changes taking place this month, according to NBAA. Under the FAA’s Northeast Corridor Atlantic Coast Routes (NEC ACR) initiative, “operators will see significant changes ahead of the project’s targeted November 2020 completion date,” the association said.
According to NBAA, the first event takes place this week as some high altitude “J-routes” are replaced with “Y-routes” optimized for performance-based navigation. Plans call for similarly replacing low-altitude routes next month and for all J-routes to be replaced by Jan. 30, 2020.
The NEC ACR is targeting increased use of offshore routes, particularly as an effort to avoid severe weather. Other goals include better segregation of overflight traffic from the arrival and departure corridors in the New York and Washington areas, and reducing offshore vectoring and holds.
NBAA pointed to plans for a new “super ultra-high” ATC sector over Washington, D.C., that will reduce airspace restrictions and closures for traffic flying above FL400. Future plans are to replace the commonly used AZEZU offshore routing with more accessible options, NBAA added.
These efforts build on lessons from the South-Central Florida metroplex project, the association noted. “The FAA hopes to improve routing and decrease operational complexity through the nation’s busiest airspace,” said Ernie Stellings, senior manager at NBAA Air Traffic Services. “This may be the biggest route change in 50 years; the eastern seaboard is the most congested airspace in the country, and it’s all being redone.”