Gridlock during peak times at New York LaGuardia has forced the airport operator, the Port Authority of New York, to instigate a temporary ban on the expansion of flights. The move has resulted in a welter of recriminations from affected parties who are claiming the operator does not have authority to impose such restrictions.

The ban on the addition of new flights took effect on 1 October, and applies to the peak time periods of 0800h to 0959h and 1730h to 2029h. In a letter to airlines, the Port Authority says that scheduled arrival and departures during these times already meet or exceed the operational limits of the airport. No date has been set for the removal of the ban.

The airport has seen a significant increase in flights since the second quarter of the year following new legislation which came into effect in April and included the provision to free up capacity for regional airlines at the airport.

US system-wide air traffic delays rose 29% in August over the same period last year, compared to 8% for the previous month, and part of the blame for this has been attributed to the expansion at LaGuardia.

The authority says in its letter that "requests to airlines that flights be rescheduled have been disregarded, thus necessitating the action".

Source: Flight International