Wed, Oct 01, 2008
ATA Says Decision Affirms View That Action Is "Unlawful"
Not surprisingly, on Wednesday two of the most vocal opponents
to a controversial DOT plan to auction off landing slots at Newark
International Airport applauded a ruling by the Government
Accountability Office, which states the plan may in fact be
The Airports Council International–North America (ACI-NA)
and Air Transport Association (ATA) each applauded the GAO General
released Tuesday, stating the FAA lacks
authority to auction arrival and departure slots at Newark. The
opinion also concluded that FAA similarly lacks authority to retain
and use auction proceeds as proposed in the pending rulemaking
proposals for LaGuardia Airport and for John F. Kennedy
In comments filed with FAA regarding the slot proposals, ACI-NA
made the case that FAA did not have the statutory authority to
conduct the auctions and was unlawfully usurping the proprietary
right of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ)
with the misconceived proposal.
"We are pleased that the GAO decision vindicated the airport
position that FAA has no statutory authority to force the slot
auctions, which are universally opposed by the airport industry,"
said Greg Principato, President of ACI-NA. "FAA should focus on
working collaboratively with the PANYNJ to develop and implement a
reasonable and effective program to reduce passenger delays and
Those sentiments were echoed by James May, president and CEO of
the Air Transport Association, the chief lobbying group for the
"ATA and the airlines applaud the clear and decisive opinion
rendered by the GAO, which affirms what we have said all along --
that the DOT slot auction is unlawful. We urge the FAA to put their
focus and attention on increasing capacity and airspace redesign to
make progress in actually reducing delays," said May.
ATA also maintains the GAO decision "overshadowed" a decision
made Tuesday by the FAA Office of Dispute Resolution (ODRA) lifting
a stay on the auction at Newark... though the GAO decision actually
carries no real legal weight.
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