One thought on “Interview with Dr. Jade Wang of NASA Ames”

  1. I know this is beyond dead, but I wanted to leave a note: this projection of increased flights actually makes a lot of sense, even with decreased passengers. For a lot of my career, I flew to work on Monday morning (especially if I’m flying west; if I’m flying east it’s usually Sunday night; I leave that reason as an exercise for the reader) and fly on Thursday night, every week. Also, the load on the air traffic system is not the number of passengers, but the number of flights. And, the profit margin for an airline is driven by the % full of the craft, not the number of passengers. So, if the number of travellers falls off due to a recession, then an airline might cancel the Monday morning flight from New York to Los Angeles in a 747 with two flights of 737’s from New York to Dallas, one on Monday morning and one on Sunday night, where they refuel and fly to Los Angeles, and cancel the Thursday night red-eye back and do the same thing with a midnight-refuel in Dallas. And this is the difference in the business model between, say, United and Southwest. So as more people drop out of the market and the remainder move to cheaper airlines like Southwest, you end up going from 2 flights to 8 and the air traffic control system gets much, much more load.

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