Airlines that have reduced their flight schedules into New York’s congested airports to help limit gridlock this summer will be allowed to continue doing so without facing penalties.
(Bloomberg) — Airlines that have reduced their flight schedules into New York’s congested airports to help limit gridlock this summer will be allowed to continue doing so without facing penalties.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said in an order Wednesday that it would extend the current agreement from Sept. 15 through Oct. 28. The shortage of air-traffic controllers in the New York region combined with the post-pandemic airline rebound had led to growing numbers of flight delays.
Normally, airlines at LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty risk losing slots if they don’t operate the flights they’ve been allotted, but the FAA is extending a waiver that allows reductions of as much as 10%. The terms also apply to some flights at Washington’s Reagan National Airport.
Carriers including Delta Air Lines Inc., United Airlines Holdings Inc., American Airlines Group Inc. and JetBlue Airways Corp. have cut flights in the region after an FAA request earlier this year.
Despite the summer pullback, airlines have used bigger planes with the potential to carry slightly more people. Airline schedules have shrunk by 6%, but available seats have increased 2%, the FAA said.
“The agency continues to expect that airlines will operate larger aircraft to transport more passengers and make sure passengers are fully informed about any possible disruptions,” the FAA said in a statement.
Airlines for America, the trade group representing large US carriers, had sought the FAA extension in a letter on Monday, arguing that controller staffing hadn’t changed so the underlying issues remain.
The FAA facility that guides planes into and out of the region, known as the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control center, has only about half of the controllers the agency estimates it needs. One partial solution — allowing controllers near Philadelphia to oversee aircraft flying near New York — hasn’t been implemented yet, the trade group said.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.