The Air Transport Association of America has issued a damning statement in response to Department of Transportation plans to withdraw LaGuardia slots and auction those slots back to the airlines. “It is truly mystifying, with the airline industry in a financial meltdown due to overwhelming fuel prices, that DOT decides now is the time for a costly economics experiment at LaGuardia. It is even more ridiculous considering the DOT’s highly suspect claim of legal authority it has just ‘discovered’ after decades of concluding the opposite,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May.
“The solution to delays in New York is not figuring out how to charge airlines and their passengers more, as DOT proposes, but rather getting on with modernizing the antiquated air traffic control system,” May said. “The airlines and the Port Authority have worked in close cooperation with DOT in recommending concrete steps to add capacity and better manage schedule demands. While DOT is moving on 17 of those recommendations, which we appreciate, they are ignoring 60 others while wasting time and precious financial resources in ‘experimenting’ with increased costs to drive down demand. This proposal means fewer choices, higher costs and a reduction in service to smaller communities. The public does not want that, the Port Authority does not want that, and the airlines do not want that,” May said.
“More importantly, what the DOT has proposed will do nothing to reduce delays,” May said.