The FAA today issued a Notice of Amendment to Order indicating that it is amending its December 12, 2006 Order, which temporarily capped the scheduled operations at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.  The FAA published a final rule instituting longer-term regulation involving auctions of slots, but that rule is currently stayed pending review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York.  (See, "D.C. Court of Appeals Stays Slot Auctions at JFK, Newark and LaGuardia," posted Dec. 9, 2008).  In this Amendment, the FAA is "mov[ing] toward an hourly limit of 71 operations from 6 a.m. through 9:59 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, and 12 noon through 9:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on Sunday."

Unlike with the final rule, under this amendment, the FAA states that it will not force air carriers to relinquish Operating authorizations at the airport, and instead it will "accept voluntary flight reductions for the duration of the Order."  The FAA will then retire the surrendered Operating Authorizations until an hourly average of 71 scheduled operations is achieved.  If the final rule comes into effect and further reductions are necessary, air carriers that voluntarily surrendered their Operating Authorizations will be credited.  In order to receive credit for the voluntary reduction in the future, though, an air carrier must present its offer to reduce scheduled service at LaGuardia no later than February 2, 2009.

The following comments were received by the FAA: