WASHINGTON, DC (August 4, 2008) – The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for US airlines, issued the following statement in response to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey concerns over efforts by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to auction rights to conduct additional flight operations at the New York/New Jersey airports:
“ATA agrees with the Port Authority’s assessment that the DOT’s proposed auction rules are unwise and unlawful. We share the Port Authority’s concerns with the DOT’s slot auction proposal and with its threat to add still more congestion to the region. We are carefully reviewing the Port Authority’s proposed notice,” said ATA president and CEO James C. May. “Instead of providing the infrastructure that we all need, the DOT is trying to hide its failure behind an economics experiment to ration air service. Sadly, this illegal scheme will do nothing to reduce air traffic congestion or to meet the region’s and the nation’s need for air transportation.”
May noted that virtually the entire membership of the secretary’s own appointed aviation rulemaking committee on New York delays, which offered dozens of ideas to improve capacity, soundly rejected the idea of auctions. “DOT has ignored the majority of those capacity enhancements and instead misdirected its efforts on this scheme to drive up the cost of air transportation. That is just wrong and legally indefensible,” said May.
ATA urges the DOT to push aggressively to redesign and streamline air traffic patterns in the New York and New Jersey region and begin deploying “NextGen” air traffic management. “Rather than distracting from these efforts with this economics experiment, it is time for action,” said May.