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NYC Airports Auctioning Slots

It’s no secret that the New York City airports, including JFK, LaGuardia and Liberty International, are some of the busiest and most congested airports in the world. In recent months, the government has implemented several new strategies to relieve the congestion, caused by the three airports named above, as well as Philadelphia and Boston working with a limited amount of air space. The latest and greatest scam to improve flight delays is auctioning slots at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. The same deal was implemented in LaGuardia several months ago.

In the same announcement, the Transportation Department claimed the government and industry needs to improve maintenance and safety procedures to prevent a repeat of the American Airlines recent mass flight cancellation.

How does this work? The Transportation Department will require carriers to auction off some of their existing slots over the next five years and possibly retire others. All airlines operating at Newark and JFK will be given as many as 20 daily slots for the 10-year life of the rule. It gets a little confusing after that.

According to the AP article,

“Under one option at JFK, 10 percent of the airline’s slots above the base amount would be made available via an auction and the proceeds would be invested in congestion and capacity improvements in the region. Or the airlines would auction 20 percent of slots above the baseline and keep all of the proceeds.

The plan also calls for auctioning 10 percent of slots at Newark above the baseline annually for the first five years of the rule, making 96 slots out of 1,219 at the airport auctioned over the 10-year span.”

Why auctioning? What difference is it going to make which carrier is operating the flights? If there are too many flights in to little airspace in too short of a time, what’s that going to solve? “Competition drives down fares,” Peters said in a release. Call me crazy, but I though the price hikes were do to skyrocketing jet fuel prices, not a lack of competition.

Whatever. We just want on-time flights.

Last year, the New York-area airports had the worst on-time arrival rates in the country, which is some accomplishment in the year of record delays. It is believed the delays in New York are ‘trickling down’ and a root cause of the delays around the country.

It should come as no surprise that the major airlines operating in New York are going to fight like hell to keep this from happening.