NOAA 2004-R287
Contact: Marcie Katcher

NOAA News Releases 2004
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A consortium of airline executives, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service focused on hazardous weather forecasting for air travel at a recent summit meeting in Bohemia, N.Y. The summit’s goal was to bring NWS forecasters and the aviation industry together to discuss general aviation operations, new products and services, weather forecast philosophy and the affects of forecasts on the air traffic system. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“At NOAA, we are committed to using state-of-the-art technologies to develop a new generation of forecasting tools to continually improve aviation forecasting,” said retired Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of NOAA's National Weather Service. “As a pilot, I know the importance weather plays in flight safety. This summit has an important role in improving air travel safety and defining the current and future needs of the aviation industry.”

NWS forecasters and the aviation community stressed safety first in forecasting hazardous weather conditions for air travel. The worst weather conditions for three of the five busiest Air Route Traffic Control Centers in the nation located in Cleveland, New York and Washington DC, included fog, turbulence, thunderstorms, snow and ice. Weather related delays due to thunderstorm activity were the single most disruptive force within the National Airspace System.

“At Jet Blue Airways, one of our core values is safety. Safety always has to come first because we value our reputation for providing the highest level of customer service in the industry. Our active participation with our partners and NOAA’s National Weather Service keeps air travel secure, enabling us to offer our customers the safest and most efficient routes with the least turbulence,” said Tom Amato, director of flight dispatch for Jet Blue Airways.

A preview of forecasting products that exist today and new products in development focused on improved forecast accuracy and lead times to meet the airline industries growing needs.

“In the future, the new Graphical Forecast Product that will be rolled-out by the Aviation Weather Center, will be of vital importance to our region,” said Dean Gulezian, NOAA’s NWS, director, Eastern Region. The NWS Eastern Region includes the Washington D.C. and New York City metropolitan areas, home to some of the busiest airports in the country.

“Graphical Forecast Products will take official aviation weather information out of the teletype era. Forecasters will be better able to describe the weather they expect, while pilots and dispatchers are better able to understand what forecasters are telling them and apply this information to their operation,” said Jack May, director of NOAA’s Aviation Weather Center in Kansas City.

The Collaborative Convective Forecast Product used today is continuing to reduce weather related disruptions. It collaboratively creates more accurate forecasts that are generated 12 times per day with two, four and six hour forecast windows. Participants in this collaboration include the Aviation Weather Center forecasters, (part of NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Prediction), Center Weather Service Units and airline meteorologists.

“As a professional meteorologist in the airline industry, I know the value our partnerships have in increasing air safety and on-time performance for our customers. The summit was a great forum to exchange ideas and operating procedures. Most importantly, it helps us easily incorporate new and existing National Weather Service forecast products in our operations. Our customers benefit from the increased safety and efficiency,” said Rick Curtis, manager of Dispatch Automation for Southwest Airlines.

Along with a preview of innovative new forecasting products, NOAA’s NWS Eastern Region was presented with the National Weather Service Aviation Award for outstanding accomplishment and innovation in weather forecasting for a second year in a row. The award recognized the Aviation Best Practices Guide that helped create a more uniform aviation forecast program along with extensive outreach and research activities.

Presenters at the aviation summit included Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Jet Blue Airways, NOAA’s NWS and the FAA.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The NWS operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.

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