Dec. 15, 2015

Operators can expect extensive traffic flow management strategies during the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holiday period, particularly between Florida and the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. The Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC) Advisories website will provide up-to-the-minute information on operational requirements. View the advisories website.

As a part of the ATCSCC strategy, operators can expect a significant number of required reroutes to be implemented. Daily required routes will be published via advisory, and also on the FAA’s Current Reroutes website.

VACAPES Airspace

In an effort to minimize holiday air travel delays, the U.S. military will again be opening the VACAPES airspace off the mid-Atlantic coast to civilian air traffic in order to reduce congestion in the airspace along the East Coast, particularly in the Jacksonville, FL and Washington, DC centers.

Portions of this military airspace should be available beginning Dec. 20 and lasting through Jan. 3, with Dec.19, 26 and Jan. 3 expected to be the highest volume days. Operators are urged to file the routes as published in the advisories and ensure that they meet the equipment requirements specified in FAA regulations for their operations.

View the FAA HARP Update Release Request List. (PDF)

Dynamic Holiday Routes

There are several sets of routes expected to be in use during the 2015-16 holiday travel period. Operators traveling between the Northeast and Florida are strongly encouraged to be familiar with, and utilize, the routes which will be outlined daily on the FAA Current Reroutes website.

  • Required and recommended routes will dynamically change daily depending upon which military airspace is available for that given day.
  • Offload routes from the New York satellite airports may be required if volume issues occur over the WHITE departure fix (although additional mileage will be incurred, actual departure delays should be reduced).
  • AZEZU: These deep water routes will keep both northbound and southbound traffic out of Jacksonville (ZJX) and Washington (ZDC) Center airspace when certain military airspace is still active.

FAA Advisories

Operators can expect advisories to be issued daily, with information on which set of routes will be used. This will depend on whether or not special-use airspace areas are active or inactive.

Expected Offload Routes Out of New York Satellite Airports

Required offload routes off the New York satellites may be required if volume is heavy over the WHITE departure fix. The offload routes will be published daily as needed.

Operators can exempt themselves from these required routes by filing the AZEZU deep water routes if operating between the Northeast and Florida. Deep water operational requirements must be met to utilize these routes.

Please note, aside from the enroute issues discussed on this page, operators should plan for possible ground delay programs at major Florida airports, particularly PBI, FLL, and the major New York airports – including TEB and HPN – throughout the holiday period.

Operational Tips to Assist in Reducing Potential Delays

  1. File flight plans as early as possible.
  2. Utilize the offshore water routes (AZEZU) if possible.
  3. Check the ATCSCC advisories prior to filing flight plans to ensure flight plan route compliance.
  4. If possible, avoid late afternoon/early evening departures northbound on Jan. 3.