Sections

PA will block FAA sale of takeoff slots

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The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey upped the ante against the Federal Aviation Administration and the federal Department of Transportation Monday, announcing plans to block any flights that bought a takeoff slot through the FAA's proposed auction program.

"The Port Authority and a vast majority of airlines believe the federal government's auction plan would have a severe negative impact on air travel and customers at John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports, and would be illegal without Congressional authorization," the agency said in a news release.

A PA Flight Delay Task Force concluded last month that the auctions would serve as an additional tax on air passengers, increasing airline ticket prices by an estimated 12 percent.

The auctions would also favor aircraft operating between larger air travel hubs, making it more difficult for flights to and from smaller aviation markets to get to New York City, the PA said.

The PA got support from U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who called the plan "unworkable."

"The Port Authority is absolutely right to block the DOT's efforts," Schumer said in a prepared statement. "The bottom line is this harebrained, untested scheme will cause chaos at our airports, raise fares and reduce travel options and not ease delays one bit."

The year 2007 was the second worst year for delays since 1995, the FAA said, with nearly 27 percent of flights arriving late. The FAA has blamed airlines for booking more flights per hour than airports like LaGuardia and JFK can handle.

Schumer has blamed the increased delays on the FAA's failure to upgrade control tower electronics and hire more air traffic controllers.

The three New York-area airports rank consistently among the busiest in the country.

Last year, Kennedy ranked 12th, Newark 14th and LaGuardia 18th in the FAA's list of the busiest airports in the country. Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport topped the list.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 6:39 pm, October 10, 2011
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