Mayor Bloomberg is calling on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to implement a Bush administration plan that would auction off landing slots at Newark, John F. Kennedy, and La Guardia airports.
In a letter sent yesterday to Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and the executive director of the Port Authority, Christopher Ward, the mayor said the city would like to develop a pilot program similar to the federal government's proposal in an effort to unclog airports' busy runways. The Bush administration has argued that the auctions would determine a market price for peak flying hours and encourage airlines to use larger planes to avoid paying the higher rates, thus reducing the number of flights and delays at the airports.
"While there is legitimate disagreement on the details of the proposal, given its promise, the City would like to work with the federal government and the Port Authority to develop a limited pilot program, similar to what the Bush Administration has recently proposed at Newark, to determine whether it would be successful in encouraging airlines to utilize larger aircraft in peak-hour slots," Mr. Bloomberg wrote.
In addition to discussing the auction proposal, he criticized a recently imposed cap, instituted by the Federal Aviation Administration, on the number of flights at the city's airports, calling the policy "ineffective and harmful to the New York economy."
Mr. Bloomberg's support for slot auctions puts him at odds with Senator Schumer and the Port Authority, both opponents of the proposal. The Port Authority has threatened to block airlines' access to terminal facilities if they participate in an auction program, arguing that such auctions will drive up fares and cut service to smaller cities. Mr. Schumer described the federal government's plan as "unworkable" last week in a statement and pledged to "fight them every step of the way" to prevent the policy from being put in place.