The US Department of Transportation (DoT) has asked the aviation industry for proposals to relieve airport congestion and flight delays in the USA.

Transportation secretary Norman Mineta says there is no quick fix to the problem but "market-based pricing may be one part of the puzzle". Demand management approaches include peak hour pricing and slot lotteries at congested US airports. The DoT is also seeking comments on solutions, such as establishment of a minimum aircraft size allowable at congested airports.

Those invited to comment have been asked to consider how market-based approaches would affect airline competition, general aviation, and small community access to major travel markets. "Just as the nature and magnitude of the delay problem varies by airport, so do the abilities of airports to address congestion. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution to the problem," the DoT says.

Delay problems at New York's LaGuardia Airport are already the subject of separate proceedings where the DoT is considering long-term policy options for managing capacity and mitigating congestion. The FAA has opted to extend by a year the slot lottery imposed at La Guardia. The service reductions were implemented after the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates LaGuardia, set a moratorium on new flights during peak hours, challenging federal legislation that opened access to regional jets and new long-haul airline entrants.

The limitations were due to end by 15 September, when demand management or market-based solutions were to be imposed. The FAA instead has decided to maintain the current slot allocation until October 2002 when the longer-term scheme is to be implemented.

Source: Flight International