The FAA first proposed limiting scheduled operations at Newark Liberty in a proposed order that was published in March 18, 2008, Federal Register.  The FAA has now, on May 21, 2008, issued its Order limiting scheduled operations at Newark Liberty Airport.  In the Order states:

  • Takes effect at 6:00a.m. on June 20, 2008;
  • Total air carrier operations will not exceed 81 per hour between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.;
  • The order sunsets on October 24, 2009;
  • Air carriers have been assigned "Operating Authorizations," for specific time slots and operations (i.e., departure or arrival);
  • In order to maintain the Operating Authorizations, the air carrier must use them at least 80% of the time;
  • The Operating Authorizations can be sold and traded, so long as the air carrier has maintained the 80% usage prior to selling or trading. 

The FAA hopes that this will alleviate congestion and delays at Newark Liberty.

Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters told FAA’s Aviation Forecast Conference in March, 2008, that she believed that the caps at Newark will actually result in an increase in operations at Newark Liberty. She stated that “overall, the caps at Newark allow 30 more operations per day than were offered last summer – just more reasonably spaced."  The question remains, however, whether caps will achieve the goals of reducing delays and congestion without an economic impact on the airlines and quality of life impact on the surrounding communties. 

Alfred Kahn, the Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board under President Carter, in a recent working paper, stated his belief that congestion pricing would be a better approach.  He argues that the allocation of scarce airport resources is an economic problem and should be treated as such, therefore, air carriers should pay for the privilege of taking-off or landing at particular times.

With the summer travel season almost here, we will see what effect the caps at Newark and JFK will have on delays at the airport and noise in the community.