FAA, New York, airports, all in slot solution suit

Thumbnail image for Vegas_slots.jpgSo sue me, already. The FAA said so, and now the airlines have and so the feds are responding with unusual speed for any agency. And it’s all over slots. No, not the kind you find in Las Vegas, even in the McCarran airport there. It’s landing slots, silly. Okay, now that we’ve lost you and bored you, we have to ask you to try to pay attention because (a) this is really important and (b) it will be on the final exam.

The FAA now has landing slots in place at the three New York City airports as a way to ease congestion; it says that auctioning off slots when they become available to the highest bidder is a good thing. It wants to sell off Newark slots vacated by Eos, a luxury airline that went under early in the year. What’s neat is that the issue has split elected officials, with New York senator Chuck Schumer moving to block the auction and Hillary (Clinton) saying she opposes it, while the city’s mayor, Hizzoner Mike Bloomberg, says he favours the idea. What perplexes us is the FAA’s link between auctions and the flight caps at each of the airports: flight limitations are one thing, but how does selling, leasing, or auctioning off landing rights increase capacity or decrease delays? You can find some fairly informative discussion here.

The Port Authority, which runs Newark and the other two New York City airports, says that the proposal doesn’t make sense and anyway the federal government doesn’t have legal authority for the sale. The FAA and its parent, the Transportation Department, say that yes it does. And it threatens to withhold all federal grants to the Port Authority if it follows through on its threat to bar landings by any airline that buys and then tries to use the slots. The Port and the Air Transport Association have sued over the auction, asking a court to block it. The auction, set for September 3, has been temporarily suspended but the issue is far from settled.

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6 Responses to FAA, New York, airports, all in slot solution suit

  1. Jay Dub Gee August 30, 2008 at 8:53 pm #

    Will’s solution wouldn’t help.
    Flying isn’t the problem, runway occupancy is the problem. Crossing runways means that departures are slowed by arrivals, and arrival metering has to be used to allow departures to get out on time– not that they can because the taxiways are too congested to allow departure sequencing to maximize efficiency. Arrival delays are rare in clear weather, if departures are okay, but cloudy weather usually means wet runways or departure restrictions– either prevents maximum use of runway sequencing.

  2. barry martin September 1, 2008 at 6:56 pm #

    lets remember folks, these slots belong to he public and are managed by the faa. they are not owned by the mbas’ managing (or trying) whats left of the industry. let one federal agency in this country do their job? bjm


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