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DOT Will Regulate Flights at JFK
At a highly anticipated press conference today, Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced that flights in and out of JFK would be capped at 83 per hour for at least the next two years, starting in March 2008. As it stands now, about 100 flights per hour are scheduled at peak times. Currently available takeoff and landing slots will not be auctioned off to the highest bidder, as some airlines feared.
At least not yet. Secretary Peters says any new slots created through technology or airport improvements will be auctioned to the highest bidder if and when they become available. While President Bush would say that the plan allows market forces to control JFK, requiring a massive upfront investment in the form of takeoff and landing fees effectively locks out upstart innovators with limited capital.
JetBlue has already issued a statement on the caps, with CEO David Barger saying:
We applaud the DOT and FAA's actions to address congestion and enhance capacity at JFK. These capacity enhancements coupled with the regrettable, but necessary, temporary hourly caps on operations will greatly improve JetBlue's operational reliability.
Negotiations about flight caps at Newark are still underway; LaGuardia already has a limit on takeoffs and landings.
[Photo of JFK: Carl Puentes Photography]