Comes As Schumer Blasts FAA For Hellish Summer, Calls For
On Friday, US
Transportation Secretary Mary Peters called for a meeting with
airlines to discuss flight schedules into and out of New
York’s JFK airport. The meeting between the FAA and airlines
serving JFK will be held October 23-24.
The scheduling meeting is part of what Peters (right) termed a
"two-pronged approach" to address chronic New York delays.
She also has charged a group of airline, airport and travel
officials with developing a series of additional measures to reduce
congestion at New York’s three major airports before the
start of the 2008 summer travel season.
"Our first choice is to find market-based incentives to fix
delays so we can preserve passenger choice, but we will consider
imposing scheduling restrictions as one option to avoid a repeat of
this summer’s delays," Peters said.
Airlines at JFK increased their scheduled operations by 41
percent between March 2006 and August 2007, Peters said. As a
result, the number of arrival delays exceeding one hour increased
by 114 percent in the first 10 months of fiscal year 2007, compared
to the same period the previous year.
During June and July 2007, on-time arrival performance at JFK
was only 59 percent, she said.
Schumer Unveils Three-Part Plan For Northeast Airspace
Meanwhile, on Friday bombastic New York Senator Charles Schumer
unveiled his plan to fix congested airspace over the region. His
plan echoes the ideas put forth by DOT in many ways, but there's a
significant difference: the FAA need not apply here, according to
"If you want to know why these delays occur, three letters
describe it -- F-A-A and their incompetence," Schumer said,
according to WCBS-2.
Schumer's plan calls for
a meeting between airlines -- and only the airlines -- to work out
a reasonable flight schedule. Such meetings are currently forbidden
due to anti-trust concerns, without approval by the FAA. The
airlines have already asked for such a meeting, but so far, the
agency hasn't granted its permission.
"We would ask that if they can't settle it together with the
FAA, saying you get a certain amount, then the FAA lay down the
law," Schumer said.
The senator also wants the government to open up a large section
of airspace off the East Coast, that is now reserved for military
training. "The military rarely uses it," Schumer said. "When they
need it it's fine, but the rest of the time this alleyway should be
available to commercial flights."
Lastly, Schumer wants an East Coast "Air Czar" to coordinate ATC
operations in the area.
Schumer's plan drew immediate praise from the Air Transport
Association, lobbying group for the nation's airlines.
"We applaud Senator Schumer for working with the industry and
government to help reduce the growing number of flight delays and
improve the customer travel experience," said ATA President and CEO
James C. May. "Like the senator, we support the appointment of a
'czar' to lead a multi-faceted congestion initiative in the
Northeast corridor. To ensure utmost accountability, someone in
this new leadership role must be empowered to make substantive
adjustments to the management of our nation’s airports and
"ATA member airlines are fully committed to working closely with
all stakeholders to address the challenges associated with the
growing demand for travel in and out of the New York area," May