June 18, 2008

Air Transport Association Demands Urgent Action on N.Y. Airspace Congestion


Contact: Elizabeth Merida, +1-202-626-4205, or Victoria Day, +1- 202-626-4141, both of ATA

Denounces DOT Push for Congestion Pricing and Slot Auctions

WASHINGTON,June 18/PRNewswire-USNewswire/--The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today testified before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on the need to increase capacity and reduce congestion in New York-area airspace. ATA denounced the Department of Transportation (DOT) congestion pricing and slot auction proposals that would limit capacity, and urged DOT to stop talking ideology and experiments, and start leaving a legacy that will help, not hurt, this country.

Instead of moving forward with capacity enhancements and airspace redesign using every available resource with all deliberate speed, the DOT is pushing congestion pricing and slot auctions - completely unproven textbook experiments that no one in the aviation world has used successfully, said ATA President and CEO James C. May. DOT seems intent on leaving a legacy of failed, but extremely costly, experiments that do nothing to reduce congestion and flight delays in New York or anywhere else.

ATA and its member airlines are joined by a broad coalition, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in opposing these DOT proposals. Furthermore, as ATA testified, congestion pricing and slot auctions are unlawful.

May stressed the need for a sense of urgency that the DOT implement and enforce all 77 capacity enhancements identified last year by the New York Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). This urgency is heightened not only by worsening congestion in the New York area, but also by the dire need to remove any unnecessary costs and regulatory burdens from the airline industrys plate. These capacity enhancements will make the system more efficient for everyone in part by reducing fuel burn and related fuel costs for the airlines which face approximately $10 billion in losses this year.

DOT should devote all of the resources necessary right now to implement the New York airspace redesign and related initiatives, May said. Work with the Port Authority and others to implement the near-term capacity enhancements identified last year by the New York ARC; work with the Department of Defense and Congress, if necessary, to open up new airways on a permanent basis; and accelerate development and implementation of technologies to bring us to the NextGen air traffic management system; and deploy Worldwide Scheduling Guidelines.

ATA airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. For additional information about the industry, visit www.airlines.org.

SOURCE Air Transport Association

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