The Pentagon will open part of its unused military airspace to commercial airlines as President George W. Bush's administration tries to reduce air traffic congestion and long delays that are expected to hit the country during Thanksgiving, the government said on Thursday.
An unused military airspace from Florida to Maine will be opened to create a "Thanksgiving express lane" for commercial airlines from Wednesday through Sunday, the busiest days of thanksgiving travel, the White House said.
The new measure will also apply to the Christmas travel season, it added.
Calling holiday travel "a season of dread for too many Americans," Bush said that "anybody who has been traveling" are clear about the problems including very crowded airports, stranded travelers and delayed flights sometimes with a full load of passengers sitting on the runway for hours.
"These failures carry some real costs for the country, not just in the inconvenience they cause but in the business they obstruct and the family gatherings they cause people to miss," Bush said.
Apart from "Thanksgiving express lane," other measures were also under consideration to channel air traffic including charging airlines higher landing and takeoff fees at peak hours, he added.
According to the Air Transport Association, the U.S. domestic carriers are expected to fly roughly 27 million passengers worldwide over 12 days beginning Nov. 16, with planes about 90 percent full.