JFK Flight Caps Rile New Yorkers

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New York politicians, business groups and tourism officials have joined the chorus of opposition to a proposal by the FAA to limit flights into John F. Kennedy Airport to a maximum of 81 during peak hours and 80 for most of the rest of the day. Instead, the "broad coalition" opposing the proposal is saying the FAA should get its own house in order and fast-track modernization efforts, facilities improvements and airspace redesign to reduce the number of flight delays at the airport. "We must act now to reduce delays. However, the solution on which the FAA is currently focused - a cap on the number of flights at JFK - is, in truth, no solution at all," New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine said in a joint letter to Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters.

Opponents to the plan say it will put the number of flights into JFK at the same level as the late 1960s and prevent more than 3.4 million passengers from getting there. The coalition says improved radar, more taxiways, a new westbound departure route and improved "navigation and surveillance systems to reduce spacing between aircraft" should be undertaken instead of simply capping flights.