Say Idea Is Untested, And Possibly Illegal
Well, so much for that idea. A
proposal hatched by the Bush administration three months ago to
fine airlines for using runways during peak hours -- thus, in
theory, more evenly spreading out departures and arrivals at New
York-area airports -- appears headed for defeat.
The Wall Street Journal reports a coalition including the Air
Transport Association, and the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey, opposed the idea, calling the notion illegal and expensive,
adding it hasn't been tested on a large scale.
"Congestion pricing is nothing more than an additional and
unnecessary tax on passengers that has never been proven to work in
aviation," said ATA President James May.
As ANN reported, President
Bush convened the Aviation Rulemaking Committee, made up of
lawmakers and industry officials, in September... spurred by
passenger complaints of record delays following a horrendous
summer. Among the ideas bandied were encouraging airlines to use
fewer, and larger, aircraft; shifting traffic to underutilized
airports; and congestion pricing.
"Applying congestion pricing to the aviation industry has the
potential to make today's system more predictable, more reliable
and more convenient for the travelers," Bush said last month.
Opponents to that plan responded with a Power Point
presentation, playing on such points as "Congestion fees would be
an unauthorized tax" and "DOT failed to make the case: Better
solutions are available." To drive the point home, the final slide
showed a red apple with a bite taken out of it -- a representation
of what would happen to the New York economy, the airlines said,
should such fees be imposed.
And it seems to have worked... as officials on the committee and
with the Department of Transportation are now ready to give up,
sources tell the WSJ. "You can't make them do it if they don't want
to," said an unnamed DOT official, adding the agency is now
focusing on other suggestions to reduce congestion.
A final decision from the committee is expected next week.