FAA, Port Authority Square Off Over New York Slot Auctions

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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates several busy airports in the New York City area, is at odds with the FAA over a plan to auction off takeoff and landing slots at JFK, Newark and LaGuardia. The Port Authority and the Air Transport Association both have asked a federal court to stop the FAA from auctioning off the slots. On Tuesday, the FAA said it has initiated an investigation to determine if the Port Authority would be in violation of federal laws if it tries to discourage airlines from participating in the auctions or to prevent them from using the auctioned-off slots. "If the proposal by the Port Authority is in fact discouraging open access to the airports, the Port Authority may no longer be eligible for FAA grants, or payments under existing grants, until the matter is resolved," the FAA said. The FAA is scheduled to auction two slots previously allotted to now-bankrupt EOS Airlines at Newark on Sept. 3.

In addition, two NPRMs issued in the spring propose to auction a limited number of takeoff and landing slots at JFK, Newark and LaGuardia Airports. "The auctions will preserve competitive airline service, help lower fares for service to and from the region, and give new carriers an opportunity to enter the market," the FAA said. The Port Authority says the proposed slot auction "would result in higher costs for airlines, increased ticket prices for airline passengers, and fewer flights to small communities." The Airports Council International also opposes the slot auction, calling it "misconceived" and an unlawful trampling on the Port Authority's rights.