REGIONAL ISSUES - NORTHEAST REGION

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Thanksgiving Holiday Route Requirements

Updated Nov. 7, 2017

Operators can expect extensive traffic flow management strategies between Florida and the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday week, as well as during the 2017-18 holiday season. 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. When the exact routes have been finalized, they will be published via advisory and also on the FAA's current reroutes website. View the current reroutes website.

East Coast Military Airspace Released for Thanksgiving Holiday Routes

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 (also known as the Holiday Airspace Release Plan or HARP) to civilian air traffic, in order to further ease the flow of traffic in the airspace along the East Coast, particularly in the Jacksonville, FL and Washington, DC centers.

Portions of this military airspace should be available from Nov. 23-28. These routes will also be scheduled to be utilized the week of Christmas and the New Year’s Eve holiday. 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 missions. Operators should note that when the military HARP routes are available, they will be used in lieu of the AZEZU routes.

View the Detailed FAA Snowbird Strategies – Winter 2017/2018. (PDF)

Dynamic Holiday Routes

There are several sets of routes expected to be in use during the 2017 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.
  • DOMESTIC HARP SOUTH/NORTH and ATLANTIC 2 SOUTH/NORTH: these routes will be used both North and South when military airspace is released off the Mid-Atlantic Coast during Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year’s Eve holiday.

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.

Approximately a week before Thanksgiving, an advisory will be published daily throughout Thanksgiving week, covering the next day of operation, to communicate to facilities and customers the exact routes that are expected to be used.

Expected Offload Routes Out of New York Satellite Airports

Required routes off the New York satellites may be needed if volume is heavy over the WHITE departure fix. These 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).

Aside from the en route issues discussed on this page, operators should plan for possible ground delay programs at several Florida airports, particularly Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and the major New York airports – including Teterboro Airport (TEB), Westchester County Airport (HPN) and Morristown Municipal (MMU) – throughout the Thanksgiving holiday.

Operational Tips to Assist in Reducing Potential Delays

  • File flight plans as early as possible.
  • Utilize the offshore water routes (AZEZU), if possible.
  • Check the ATCSCC advisories prior to filing flight plans to ensure flight plan route compliance.
  • If possible, avoid late afternoon/early evening departures northbound on Sunday, Nov. 27.

Daily East Coast Route Structure Plans

The holiday airspace routes to/from Florida associated with the release of military airspace will be ​as follows:

Routes between NY Metros/Philadelphia and Florida

  • DOMESTIC_HARP_SOUTH
  • DOMESTIC_HARP_NORTH

Routes between Boston Center airports and Florida

  • ATLANTIC_SOUTH_2
  • ATLANTIC_NORTH_2

The routes listed above are expected to be available on November 20, 26 and 27.

When the military routes are not available, they will revert back to the deepwater AZEZU ROUTES.

Routes associated with the military airspace release to/from the Caribbean from/to the Northeast will also be available on November 19-22 and again between November 26-27. These routes are as follows:

  • CARIBBEAN_HARP_SOUTH
  • DOM_REP_CARIBBEAN_HARP_NORTH
  • ZMA_CARIBBEAN_HARP_NORTH
  • ZSU_CARIBBEAN_HARP_NORTH

Complete route details will be available daily on both the ATC Command Center CURRENT REROUTES and ADVISORY DATABASE webpages.