Continental reacts to NYC airspace plans

Continental Airlines responded to the announcement by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters of the administration’s plan to reduce delays and congestion at the three major New York/New Jersey area commercial airports. “The announcement by Secretary Peters today represents a positive step in the effort to improve the on-time operation of the three major New York/New Jersey area commercial airports,” said Larry Kellner, Continental’s chairman and CEO.

“We appreciate the efforts of Secretary Peters and her team to invite all stakeholders to participate in the Aviation Rulemaking Committee; to initiate a healthy debate about options to reduce delays and congestion in the nation’s most congested airspace; and to move forward with several sensible and meaningful steps that should provide improved on-time operations for air travelers in the summer of 2008. Secretary Peters has demonstrated her leadership in taking on an issue—delays in the Northeast—that has been languishing in the last several years.”

Operational Improvements

Continental welcomes the decision of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to focus on operational improvements in the New York/New Jersey airports and airspace. With that focus on items such as RNAV approach procedures, reduced spacing on final approach and optimization of arrivals, Continental believes that some of the delays experienced by customers flying into Liberty will be reduced.

Continental also applauds the DOT for announcing the decision to hire a senior coordinator to focus on New York/New Jersey delays/congestion and to use the military airspace off the East Coast to help relieve congestion around the Christmas/New Year holiday. These are positive steps for the airline and our customers.


Flight Caps

Continental supports the decision of the DOT to treat all three major commercial New York/New Jersey area airports (JFK, LaGuardia and Liberty) equally regarding flight caps, even though this will result in a reduction of Continental’s proposed peak hour flights for the summer of 2008. We commend the Secretary for making the tough decision to cap JFK and Liberty—instituting the caps may well be the single most important step in setting the stage for improved on-time operations at the New York area airports in the summer of 2008. In the longer run, Continental believes that caps should be replaced with the IATA Worldwide Scheduling Guidelines (already used successfully today in airports around the world) which provide for a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory process to manage sensible growth, as recommended by the aviation rulemaking committee (ARC).

Continental will continue to work with the administration as they turn to dealing with the longer-term Air Traffic Control (ATC) funding and management issues.