When the FAA sought approval of the “STAAV4” or “Right Turn” Departure Procedure at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, it opined that the new route would decrease delays dramatically at McCarran. Indeed, the FAA stated that reduction of delays was one of the primary purposes of instituting the departure procedure, which routes aircraft over thousands more people than the old departure route.
It has now been a year since the FAA first implemented the departure procedure. And the results are? Judging from the statistics that the FAA keeps and makes available to the public on its “OPSNET” system, the new departure procedure is a flop:
- Total number of delays at McCarran increased by 1,083 in the year since implementation of the procedure, representing a 7.0% increase over the prior year;
- Over the year since implementation, aircraft spent an additional 101,934 minutes in delay, representing a 23.3% increase over the prior year;
(For a complete comparison of the numbers click here). The explanation for an increase in delays cannot be that there was a large increase in operations, since operations increased by only 1,868, which represents a 0.3% increase in operations. Nor can bad weather explain the increase in delays, since weather related delays dropped by 808 during the year. About the only bright spot for the FAA was a decrease in “runway” delays of 155 (a decrease of 1.65%). But this is more than offset by whopping increases in “terminal volume” delays of 1,565 (an increase of 327%) and “Other” delays of 545 (a 229% increase).
If there was no decrease in delays, why was a procedure instituted that routed aircraft over thousands more people than before, subjecting them to an increase in noise and air pollution?