We Guide You Home
From the Desk of

Thank You for a Safe Holiday Travel Week

Thanksgiving week is always challenging for aviation safety professionals as millions of Americans travel through the National Airspace System (NAS) to celebrate the holiday with their families. This year was no different.

Leading up to Thanksgiving week, every major media outlet ran stories warning of possible delays due to an anticipated record volume of airline passengers. And although expected volume did come to pass – the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that on Sunday, Nov. 26, a record 2.9 million people passed through security, the busiest day ever for air travel – flight cancelations were below 1 percent despite the record level of travel. 

Thanksgiving 2023 travel was up 5% from last year. The Thursday before Thanksgiving was the 5th busiest day of 2023 with 52,050 IFR flights, nearly duplicated on Friday, when you worked the 6th busiest day of the year with 52,011 IFR flights. The Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving were also busy, each having more than 48,000 flights. 

This is a credit to the professionalism and commitment to safety by every aviation safety professional who worked throughout the NAS during the Thanksgiving travel week. You worked short-staffed, with increased time on position, and spent time away from your families to keep holiday travelers moving. It is because of your commitment and expertise that the NAS ran smoothly and efficiently. 

If there is one thing the traveling public can count on, it’s that NATCA members always perform their jobs to the best of their abilities, negotiating the vast array of challenges with the skill that comes with a commitment to safety and training. 

Thank you for keeping the NAS the safest and most efficient in the world.

In Solidarity,

Rich Santa
President, National Air Traffic Controllers Association

Jump to top of page