Fixing airport gridlock

first_imgFinally, New York airports are doing something about delays that affect other airports all over the country, including Los Angeles International Airport. But it will help only a little. The problem is that airlines deliberately schedule more flights at popular departure times than the system can handle, knowing their passengers will end up waiting on the sidelines. At the other end of transcontinental flights, communities have to endure late-night arrivals at their airports that should have been on time. The remedy chosen by the New York Port Authority, which runs the JFK, La Guardia and Newark airports, is puny. It has asked airlines to move a small number of flights out of the busiest times and later it may auction any slots created by future expansion of facilities. What New York should have done was follow the recommendations of the Reason Foundation’s transportation expert, Robert W. Poole Jr., who advocates charging congestion fees. If the fees were big enough, they would result in spreading out the flights, relieving jamups and reducing delays. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonJFK is the worst offender. Flights of smaller planes with fewer than 100 passengers have increased 128 percent there in just the past five years because airlines want to compete with more choices in the most popular rush hours. New York airports foolishly charge airlines based on weight, so that a big plane carrying 250 people might pay $1,600 while a 35-passenger regional jet pays only $161. Just as foolishly, the fees charged at rush hour are the same as at off-hours. But if the rush-hour charge were, say, $2,000 per plane, the big jet would cost passengers less than $2 each, while those on small jets would have to pay $52 each. Such congestion pricing would ease the rush-hour problems and reverse the trend toward greater numbers of flights with smaller planes. Although congestion pricing would mean fewer small planes, more big planes and less delay at rush hour, it wouldn’t mean smaller passenger volume or less revenue. In fact, it would generate more revenue, which could be used to improve facilities. Some observers also contend that peak-hour pricing would lead to more air traffic at under-utilized regional airports. In the L.A. area, that could lead to more smaller-plane flights out of Ontario, Burbank, Long Beach and Palmdale airports during peak times and less congestion at LAX. Federal Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, who announced the recent changes, actually favors congestion pricing but has no control over the New York Port Authority. From the viewpoint of passengers, as well as airports at the receiving end of thousands of delayed flights, it’s obvious what New York should do, and when to do it. Congestion pricing. Now. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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