Short-Term Effort Calls For Airlines To Work With Gov't
Even though the Department of
Transportation's fevered effort to implement slot auctions at
delay-plagued New York-area airports is on indefinite hold,
the agency appears eager to try anything in order to
reduce congestion. On Monday, outgoing DOT Secretary Mary Peters
announced the FAA proposes to work with carriers to voluntarily
reduce scheduled operations there from 75, to an average of 71 per
"Too many flyers know that LaGuardia's delays are the worst of
the worst, and we want to use every tool at our disposal to help
passengers stuck with this grueling congestion," Peters said.
Peters said in 2007 and so far in 2008, LaGuardia ranked
last among the 32 major US airports in on-time arrival performance,
with an arrival rate just above 61 percent. The airport ranked just
28th for on-time departure performance over the first 10 months of
2008. Recent data show that lowering the hourly cap on operations
from 75 to 71 could reduce delays by up to 41 percent, saving up to
$178 million in delay related costs per year.
As ANN reported, a Bush administration
proposal to implement slot auctions at three New York airports was
stayed by the US appeals court, which questioned the legality of
what amounts to forced influence on market competition. Peters said
Monday's action is a near-term step toward restoring reliable air
service to LaGuardia, until more permanent measures are
"We are taking this short-term step
because passengers deserve our best efforts to fix the problem of
New York aviation delays," she said.
Peters added the Department is working to reduce delays and
help consumers -- with the cap helping in the short term -- but
that any plan to promote airline competition and help keep airfares
low for consumers over the long haul must include market-based
Caps alone are not the long-term solution, she said.
The airlines and the public will have 10 days to comment on the
proposal, which calls for the new lowered cap to take effect in
April 2009, and last through October.