As if seven years of wrangling were not enough, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now proposing changes to the current airspace utilization at Kennedy and Philadelphia International Airports.

From 2002 to 2009, governmental and private entities from Connecticut to Pennsylvania, including the State of Connecticut, various local jurisdictions in New York State, environmental

The Federal Aviation Administration today proposed to rescind the congestion management rules for JFK, LaGuardia and Newark that would have created auctions for slots at those airports.  (Click here for the JFK and Newark proposal, click here for the LaGuardia proposal)  Those rules were ardently opposed by the airlines as well as by

On October 28, 2008, Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell rolled out the FAA’s 2009-20013 "Flight Plan" at a speech in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  The "Flight Plan," in which FAA sets goals for itself, is "the strategic plan for the agency, the plan to help [the agency] prepare for the future."  In the past year, for example, as Acting Administrator Sturgell pointed out, the FAA "reached 25 out of 29 goals," with the remaining goals "probably" being achieved by November 20, 2008.  In other words, the goals set in the Flight Plan are projects and issues that the FAA has good reason to believe it can achieve over the stated planning horizon.

Priority one, according to the Flight Plan, is "dealing with congestion and delays . . . both in the air and on the ground.  Toward that end, the FAA plans to "identify and address capacity-constrained airports and metropolitan areas."  The FAA has identified Atlanta, Chicago Midway, Fort Lauderdale, John Wayne Orange County (CA), Las Vegas, Long Beach, Oakland, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco as being "capacity constrained" and provided these airports with a "toolbox" which includes "technological, procedural, and infrastructure improvements to be considered for implementation at airports based on additional capacity needs in the future."

In addition, in FY 2009, the FAA plans to "increase aviation capacity and reduce congestion in the 7 metro areas and corridors that most affect total system delay."  Those areas are:  San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Charlotte, New York and Philadelphia.  Apart from continuing the controversial airspace redesign for the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Metropolitan area, and the slot auctions for JFK, Newark and LaGuardia, which all spawned lawsuits, the FAA plans on moving forward with the redesign of the airspace for the remaining 7 metro areas.


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In the May 21, 2008, issue of the Federal Register, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a new rule affecting two airports that are a part of the East Coast Airspace Redesign.  The FAA proposes to establish procedures to address congestion in the New York City area by assigning slots at JFK and Newark Liberty Airports in a way that allows carriers to respond to market forces to drive efficient airline behavior.

  • The FAA’s proposed rule is similar in many respects to its proposal for LaGuardia airport. 
  • This proposal, however, takes into account the fact that both JFK and Newark have a large number of international flights, which implicates FAA’s international obligations. 
  • The FAA proposes to
    • extend the caps on the operations at the two airports,
    • assign to existing operators the majority of slots at the airports, and
    • create a market by annually auctioning off a limited number of slots in each of the first five years of this rule.

The proposed rule offers two alternatives in the method of assigning slots at the airport. Under the first alternative:

  • the assignment of slots at JFK and Newark would be conducted through a uniform mechanism.
  • The FAA would auction off a portion of the slots and would use the proceeds to mitigate congestion and delay in the New York City area.

Under the second alternative, the same auction procedure would apply at Newark as under the first alternative but at JFK the auction proceeds would go to the carrier holding the slot rather than to the FAA.

For both alternatives, this proposal also contains:

  • provisions for minimum usage,
  • capping unscheduled operations, and
  • withdrawal for operational need.

The FAA proposes to sunset the rule in ten years.
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