Tue, Aug 12, 2008
Says Plan Should Be Consider "Unlawful"
This week, the Air Transport Association made good on its threat
to sue the FAA over its plans to auction landing slots at three New
York area airports.
As ANN reported in May, Transportation
Secretary Mary Peters announced three measures aimed at curbing
flight delays at JFK International, Newark Liberty Airport and
LaGuardia. The DOT implemented a temporary cap on scheduled flights
at Newark at an average of 83 per hour from June 1 until October
2009, and also opened a 60-day comment window on a plan for landing
slots at JFK and Newark.
Earlier this month, Peters announced the DOT will test the
by auctioning one slot for a daily round trip flight
serving Newark in September. The agency readily
admitted such "market based" measures are experiments, to see if
such caps and slot auctions would be effective around New York, and
Joined by bombastic New York senator Chuck Schumer,
ATA vehemently protested that move, calling
the move an "illegal action." ATA built on that rhetoric in
announcing this week's lawsuit.
The Dallas Morning News reports the ATA's suit says the auction
plan "should be held unlawful and set aside because these actions
are in excess of the FAA's statutory authority; constitute
unauthorized regulatory action disguised as property management;
are contrary to express statutory limitations imposed by Congress
in the 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act; are without observance
of procedure required by law; and are arbitrary, capricious, an
abuse of discretion, and otherwise not in accordance with law."
"FAA's claim that it can use its property management authority
to auction slots is intellectually dishonest and a disturbing end
run around Congress," said ATA chief James C. May on Monday. "Every
transportation administration except this one has acknowledged that
it does not have the authority to implement auctions and other
so-called market mechanisms. Yet this administration believes it
can ignore the statutory limits of its authority to remake the
industry as it sees fit."
Both ATA and Schumer say congestion at the nation's busiest
airports could be better handled by more air traffic controllers
and upgraded equipment... not measures they say will result in
increased costs, and the loss of service to small communities.
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