The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today filed a motion with the US Court of Appeals for the Washington, DC, Circuit requesting to join a suit that seeks to invalidate a plan by the federal government to auction flight slots at the New York metropolitan region’s airports. The Air Transport Association filed the original suit in the same court.
The move comes as the Federal Aviation Administration announced an attempt today to stop the Port Authority from receiving Airport Improvement Program funds used to enhance safety and security, and increase capacity, so that the administration can pursue an auction plan opposed by the Port Authority, elected officials, airlines and other advocacy groups.
Today’s court action by the Port Authority noted that the proposed slot auction by the FAA would result in higher costs for airlines, increased, and fewer flights to small communities.
Earlier this month, the Port Authority issued a Notice of Proposed Action that would bar flight activity at the Port Authority’s airports for aircraft operating under auction-acquired slots. The proposal also would prohibit those aircraft from any other use of the airports, such as the lease of gate space in terminals or parking positions on the airfield, except for emergencies. Public comments on the proposal were overwhelmingly in favor of the Port Authority’s position.
New York Governor David A. Paterson and New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine also lodged their opposition to the auction plan in a letter to US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, noting that an auction would have a detrimental effect on the economy and do nothing to address the causes of delays and congestion. The governors also called on federal officials to implement the more than 100 recommendations of the Flight Delay Task Force, convened by the Port Authority in 2007, in order to relieve congestion.