Agency Opposes Auctions and Reiterates Call for Delay Reduction to Focus on Capacity Increases
The Port Authority reconvened its Flight Delay Task Force today to continue to press for the more than 100 recommendations it proposed in a December 2007 report to expand capacity, reduce flights delays and improve customer service for delayed passengers. The agency also renewed calls for a comprehensive overhaul of the air traffic control system and reiterated its opposition to any flight slot auction plan.
Last year, the task force brought together for the first time major stakeholders in the aviation industry to work collaboratively on the issue of flight delays in the New York region and produced a detailed set of recommendations. Click here
for the task force's original full report.
Port Authority executives noted that auctions are not expected to reduce flight delays and will only serve as an additional tax on metropolitan area passengers, increasing tickets prices by an estimated 12 percent. Additionally, 25 small and medium-sized aviation markets will lose service to and from New York-area airports as auctions will heavily favor aircraft operating only between large markets.
"Progress has been made on some of the Task Force's recommendations, but more action has to be taken," Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said. "Our strategy focuses on reducing delays through investments that expand the capacity of an antiquated aviation system. Unfortunately, we are seeing a different - and we believe incorrect - approach that seeks to reduce delays first and foremost by limiting capacity and auctioning slots. No evidence supports the conjecture that auctions will have any beneficial impact on reducing delays, but they will have an impact on ticket prices by driving them higher."
Noting that the Port Authority will invest more than $6.4 billion in its airports over the next decade, Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, "The Port Authority is making major investments at our airports and looks forward to our federal partners demonstrating the same level of commitment, which we are seeing more and more of since this Task Force came together. What we do not want, and what air travelers can't afford, is the federally proposed auction system that will result in service cuts to smaller markets such as Ithaca, Buffalo and Binghamton while doing nothing to reduce delays."
Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Susan Bass Levin said, "At a time when travel costs have become prohibitive for too many families, an increase in ticket prices resulting from an auction system would exclude even more families from traveling. The approach must center on providing more people access to our airports through expanding capacity on the ground and in the sky, not on reducing the number of people who can afford to fly."
The 100 recommendations the Port Authority has endorsed for reducing delays include fast-tracking "Next Gen" technology and implementing the system at New York-area airports first; implementing area navigation, or RNAV, an advanced technique of precise point-to-point navigation to increase aircraft throughput; and development of new procedures and technology to use multiple runways simultaneously and safely.
Pasquale DiFulco or Marc La Vorgna, 212-435-7777