ATLANTA, Nov. 7, 2007 – Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) today reaffirmed its commitment to collaborate with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to implement fair, pro-consumer solutions to reduce congestion at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The airline’s formal response to the FAA’s request for schedule reduction meetings includes a call for realistic operational targets for JFK, strengthening management of the New York Area airspace, and working through a fair non-discriminatory process that recognizes carriers, like Delta, have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in offering valuable, worldwide travel opportunities for customers, as well as thousands of new jobs.
“Our commitment to viable solutions for JFK is unwavering, and we look forward to continuing to work with the FAA to implement appropriate solutions to New York area congestion and flight delays,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president of Network Planning and Revenue Management. “Everyone agrees that the delays experienced this summer were unacceptable; we look forward to working with the FAA to implement fixes without unnecessarily limiting access to one of our nation’s greatest air travel assets.”
The airline commended members of Congress representing New York and New Jersey who, in a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Mary Peters, urged her to look for solutions to the New York airspace congestion that recognize the importance of air travel to the economic vitality of the region, such as appointing an “airspace czar” and implementing technology upgrades such as Area Navigation (RNAV).
Highlights of Delta’s filing to the DOT and FAA in response to the FAA’s call to convene schedule reduction meetings for New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport include:
- The FAA targets must be raised. JFK can produce more than 80 operations per hour, as reflected by recent governmental improvements and the much higher level of flight operations permitted under the High Density Rule.
- The Northeast airspace must be fixed. The fundamental problem is not a JFK scheduling issue; it is a New York area airspace management issue. FAA cannot place the entire burden of solving this New York area airspace issue on the backs of carriers serving JFK. Aside from its unfairness, this approach will simply fail because it will succeed only in shifting JFK operations to other airports which use the same congested and mismanaged airspace. If capacity restrictions are required, they must be applied to all affected airports and include limits on general aviation.
- The FAA cannot discriminate against U.S. carriers. FAA’s decision to grandfather all historic rights of foreign flag carriers while seeking reductions from U.S. carriers is blatant discrimination that is both unlawful and terrible aviation policy. It undermines the ability of U.S. carriers to compete effectively. If the voluntary scheduling reduction meeting is to succeed, the FAA cannot grant historic rights and the other protections of the IATA guidelines to foreign flags, while denying those same rights and protections to U.S. carriers. All carriers should be asked to share in the reductions.
- Carriers contributing to the solution must be guaranteed restoration of their historic service patterns when new capacity becomes available. As the capacity of JFK expands (due to near term capacity improvement initiatives or otherwise), the additional capacity must be allocated first to restore historic rights of those carriers who agreed to cancel service to meet FAA targets, before it is allocated for any other purpose.
- Going forward, the FAA should grant all carriers non-discriminatory treatment under the globally accepted International Air Transport Association Worldwide Scheduling Guidelines (IATA WSG). After initial allocation, historic operating rights of all carriers serving JFK must be protected equally and backfill of de-peaked periods prevented through fair, transparent and nondiscriminatory slot coordination pursuant to the IATA guidelines. These international guidelines have been used to manage congestion effectively at more than 200 of the world’s most congested airports. They are fair, flexible, and – if coupled with a buy/sell mechanism – they offer a proven market-based slot allocation system that is within the legal authority of the FAA to implement under current law, in contrast to the untested congestion pricing and auction concepts being discussed in the New York Aviation Rulemaking Committee (NY ARC).
Delta Air Lines operates service to more worldwide destinations than any airline with Delta and Delta Connection flights to 317 destinations in 55 countries. Since 2005, Delta has added more international capacity than any other major U.S. airline is the leader across the Atlantic with flights to 35 trans-Atlantic markets. To Latin America and the Caribbean, Delta offers nearly 500 weekly flights to 58 destinations. Delta's marketing alliances also allow customers to earn and redeem SkyMiles on nearly 15,000 flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta is a founding member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance that provides customers with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services. Including its SkyTeam and worldwide codeshare partners, Delta offers flights to 479 worldwide destinations in 104 countries. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes and check flight status at delta.com.