The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today acted to prevent airline ticket prices from sharply increasing by issuing a proposed action that would block any flights at its New York metropolitan area airports resulting from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration’s plan to auction flight slots at these airports.
The Port Authority’s Notice of Proposed Action, which can be viewed by clicking here
, would disallow flight departure or arrival slots that are “issued by auction or similar process.” The Port Authority and a vast majority of airlines believe the federal government’s auction plan would have a severe negative impact on air travel and customers at John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports, and would be illegal without Congressional authorization.
In issuing the notice, the Port Authority highlighted a number of flaws in the auction scheme – particularly how it would increase ticket prices while doing nothing to relieve or mitigate delays and congestion at the New York metropolitan area’s airports. As noted last month, after the Port Authority reconvened its Flight Delay Task Force, auctions would serve only as an additional tax on air passengers in the New York metropolitan area market, increasing airline tickets prices by an estimated 12 percent.
Additionally, 25 small and medium-sized aviation markets would lose service to and from these airports, as auctions would heavily favor aircraft operating only between large markets.
In addition to barring flight activity for auction-acquired slots, the Port Authority also would prohibit any other use of the airports, such as the lease of gate space in terminals or parking positions on the airfield, by aircraft that acquired slots through an auction system. An exception would be made for aircraft emergencies.
In 2006, in addressing congestion and delay conditions at LaGuardia Airport, the FAA itself acknowledged that it lacks the statutory authority to lease slots at rates determined by auction. At that time, the administration sought “the legislative authority to conduct auctions or congestion pricing.” Congress has not granted that authority, and therefore, any move by the federal government to proceed with its auction plan would be illegal.
The agency will take public comment on the notice through August 18.
The Port Authority of NY & NJ
Candace McAdams or Pasquale DiFulco, 212 435-7777
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.
The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.