It’s time we took back the thousands of miles of highways in the sky that the Pentagon has claimed for its training flights and missile tests. Over Thanksgiving weekend, airlines got a chance to use this restricted airspace,and guess what? The extra room for planes heading to Florida made a huge difference to every plane trip on those three days, and as a result, many more flights were on time.

In the WSJ today, a clear case was made by Mike Sammartino of the FAA that it’s time to give the public the chance to travel in these eight-mile wide lanes at 24,000 feet, that stretch from Boston to Miami.

The military balks–says it needs the airspace. “The offshore airspace is heavily used on a daily basis” huffs Gerald Pease Jr, of the Defense Dept. But it’s clear that there are more of us than them, and even when they try to put up the flag of ‘important training for national security, we still have a more pressing problem.

The skies above Washington DC are the real bottleneck, and getting a permanent clearance to travel these offshore air lanes will help solve this decades-old problem. It’s a ripple effect and having even 10 planes an hour traveling out there over the ocean instead of the congested over land routes clears a whole lot of space and makes this easier for air traffic controllers.

It will take a presidential order, says the article. Let’s hope Bush will decide to help out the traveling public by doing so.