Group Calls Airport Slot Auctions Illegal

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) condemned the final rule issued by the Bush Administration, which allows the government to confiscate and auction airport take-off and landing slots at New York’s airports as an ineffective and illegal way to alleviate flight delays.

The October 9th decision is “incredibly disappointing,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO. “Rather than addressing the root-causes of congestion at New York’s airports, the Bush Administration is spending its last days in office single-mindedly pursuing an alleged free-market experiment at some of the globe’s most important aviation gateways,” he continued.

“The [US] Dept. of Transportation (DOT) is out of touch with reality. Substantially raising airline costs with an illegal scheme in the middle of a perfect storm of high oil prices and falling demand makes no sense. Consumers, airlines, airports and local communities all stand to lose from today’s decision,” said Bisignani.
Slot confiscation is almost universally opposed. “DOT has made it abundantly clear that it will ignore the nearly universal opposition to this slot confiscation plan by the international airline and airport community as well as the US Congress. The US Government Accountability Office has already concluded it is an illegal scheme. The industry is now forced to use the US judicial system to get the government to accept its own advice,” said Bisignani.

Proven methods to manage congestion exist. “DOT ignored 60 years of internationally accepted and proven slot management procedures contained in the IATA Worldwide Scheduling Guidelines (WSG). Over 140 airports around the world use these guidelines to effectively manage congestion while maintaining a level playing field for airlines to compete,” said Bisignani.

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