FAA Issues Warning Of Air Travel Disruption During Total Solar Eclipse

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned of disruption to air travel along the path of April 8’s total solar eclipse.

According to a statement released by the agency, air traffic and airports should prepare for disruption to normal proceedings before, during, and after the event, starting from 10:00 am UTC on April 7 through to 4:00 am UTC on April 10.

Though the eclipse itself will only cover the US between around 6:30 pm to 7:40 pm on April 8, this extended period is likely because it’s expected that lots of people will be descending upon areas in the eclipse’s path of totality, via plane, in order to get the rare opportunity of seeing a total solar eclipse. After all, the next one in the contiguous US isn’t scheduled to be until 2044.

“There may be a higher traffic volume than normal anticipated at airports along the path of the eclipse. Traffic should anticipate delays during peak traffic periods. Parking may be limited – particularly at the smaller, uncontrolled airports,” reads the FAA’s statement, with the agency listing over 400 airports that could be affected.

It’s not just delays on the roads around airports that could be a problem for people either. The statement also warns that aircraft “should be prepared for potential airborne holding, reroutes, and/or Expect Departure Clearance Times (EDCTs)”. That’s not just helpful information for pilots – if you’re planning on traveling by air in this area during this timeframe, you may well end up delayed.

Airports and air traffic aren’t the only ones to have been on the receiving end of a warning about the eclipse. Recent weeks have seen emergency officials put out warnings to residents in the path of totality to stock up on essential supplies, including for pets, whilst some schools in affected areas have been asked to close.

For those heading into the crowds, whether by plane or by other means, you could be in for a spectacular sight – as long as the weather doesn’t end up being cloudy.

“During the 2024 eclipse, the Sun will be in or near solar maximum, when the magnetic field is more like a tangled hairball. Streamers will likely be visible throughout the corona,” according to NASA. “In addition to that, viewers will have a better chance to see prominences – which appear as bright, pink curls or loops coming off the Sun.”

“With lucky timing, there could even be a chance to see a coronal mass ejection – a large eruption of solar material – during the eclipse.”

Sounds pretty great – so don’t forget to pack your eclipse glasses so you can watch in wonder safely.

Leave a Comment