Air Transport Association applauds GAO legal opinion that auctions are unlawful


WASHINGTON, DC – The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading US airlines, applauded the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that affirms the airlines’ position that the Department of Transportation (DOT) lacks legal authority to conduct auctions.

The GAO issued an unambiguous opinion that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not have the legal authority to auction slots. In addition, GAO said that if FAA moves forward with the auction, it could be a violation of the Antideficiency Act and other statutory prohibitions. This opinion was requested by several key transportation leaders in Congress, including Sens. Murray, Bond and Schumer and Chairman Oberstar.

“ATA and the airlines applaud the clear and decisive opinion rendered by the GAO, which affirms what we have said all along – that the DOT slot auction is unlawful. We urge the FAA to put their focus and attention on increasing capacity and airspace redesign to make progress in actually reducing delays,” said ATA president and CEO James C. May.

The GAO decision overshadowed a decision made earlier today by the FAA Office of Dispute Resolution (ODRA) lifting a stay on the auction at Newark.