Airlines condemn Bush on auction decision

The International Air Transport Association has condemned the final rule issued by the Bush Administration, which allows the government to confiscate and auction airport take-off and landing slots at New York’s airports as an ineffective and illegal way to alleviate flight delays.IATA says the decision is incredibly disappointing. They believe that rather than addressing the root-causes of congestion at New York’s airports, the Bush Administration is spending its last days in office “single-mindedly pursuing an alleged free-market experiment at some of the globe’s most important aviation gateways”,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

““The Department of Transportation (DOT) is out of touch with reality. Substantially raising airline costs with an illegal scheme in the middle of a perfect storm of high oil prices and falling demand makes no sense. Consumers, airlines, airports and local communities all stand to lose from today’s decision,”” said Bisignani.

“Slot confiscation is almost universally opposed. “DOT has made it abundantly clear that it will ignore the nearly universal opposition to this slot confiscation plan by the international airline and airport community as well as the U.S. Congress. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has already concluded it is an illegal scheme. The industry is now forced to use the U.S. judicial system to get the Government to accept its own advice,”” said Bisignani.

“Proven methods to manage congestion exist. “DOT ignored 60 years of internationally accepted and proven slot management procedures contained in the IATA Worldwide Scheduling Guidelines (WSG).  Over 140 airports around the world use these guidelines to effectively manage congestion while maintaining a level playing field for airlines to compete,”” said Bisignani.

The Air Transport Association of America also responded to the decision, calling the idea ill-conceived and one that will result in a lengthy and costly legal challenge.


“The DOT decision patently defies the recommendation of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as well as the will of Congress, by attempting to move forward with an illegal auction of airport slots. Rather than needlessly forcing a costly and protracted legal challenge over an ideological experiment, DOT should follow the recommendations made by the New York Aviation Rulemaking Committee and implement fair and practical solutions to address delays and add needed new capacity,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May. “The Secretary of Transportation’s own group of key stakeholders has proposed a clear set of solutions, while rejecting the idea of auctions. It is past time to act on those recommendations.”