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Old November 19th, 2007, 06:30 PM   #41
hkskyline
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Equipment problem at DFW delays flights, fog hampers flights elsewhere before holiday rush
19 November 2007

DALLAS (AP) - Radio communications were disrupted at both Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport towers early Monday, while fog, snow and wind threatened to hamper one of the busiest travel holidays of the year elsewhere.

Flights in and out of Dallas were delayed by as much of an hour. Airport spokesman Ken Capps said in an e-mail that the problems was repaired at both towers after about 30 minutes.

The outage, at about 7 a.m., affected both incoming and outgoing flights, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's Air Traffic Control System Command Center. The FAA declared a "ground stop," which cuts incoming flights by holding planes on the ground.

In Atlanta, fog reduced visibility across the metro area to a quarter-mile and delayed flights by as much as 30 minutes during the morning rush.

The FAA said flights bound for New York's LaGuardia International Airport and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport were experiencing delays of more than an hour.

While temperatures in New York hovered around 40 degrees Monday morning, the National Weather Services predicted that steady rain could turn to snow. The area was also experiencing winds of 21 mph, with gusts of 26 mph.

Meteorologists in the Midwest eyed weather fronts that could bring an onslaught of snow and cold that could snarl air traffic at O'Hare. Rain was expected to turn to wet snow Wednesday night, just before thousands board flights out of town or pass through one of the nation's busiest travel hubs.

Weather and wind were cited for delays in Newark, N.J., and Philadelphia.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 05:30 AM   #42
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Plane delayed?
It might be Philadelphia airport's fault, thanks to poor design, bad weather

20 November 2007

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - In a terrible year for flight delays nationwide, this city's outdated airport has become a hub of the East Coast maelstrom.

Holiday travelers from Maine to Florida shouldn't hold their breath, either. It could be decades before passengers see significant improvements at Philadelphia International Airport, routinely one of the nation's most delayed.

Federal Aviation Administration officials, airlines, air traffic controllers and others say Philadelphia plays a major role in delays up and down the coast thanks to poor airport design, bad weather, heavy traffic and close proximity to New York.

"If you wanted to show an airport that shows the opposite of what efficient is, Philly would be the poster child," said Don Chapman, local president of the National Air Traffic Controllers union.

Through September, 68 percent of departures were on time in Philadelphia, better only than New York's JFK International, Chicago's O'Hare International and Liberty International in Newark, N.J. Fewer than two-thirds of arrivals were on time in Philadelphia during that period.

Nationwide, the airline industry suffered its worst on-time performance in 13 years through September. Over that period, the nation's 20 largest carriers reported that nearly a quarter of all flights arrived late, the most since the industry started keeping track in 1995.

The FAA has deemed Philadelphia a "pacing" airport that, because it sits in the middle of the busy East Coast air corridor, causes delays nationwide. It is debating how to improve the airport, which last year ranked 16th in the nation by passenger volume, but is consistently near the bottom of the 32 largest airports in on-time performance.

"It seems like if somebody sneezes in Harrisburg, we've got delays in Philadelphia," said Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for US Airways, the airport's dominant carrier.

There is little hope of major relief for this year's holiday travelers. Rain and fog on Monday and Tuesday caused delays leading up to the Thanksgiving rush.

Airport officials are working on extending one runway to accommodate bigger planes. That project, slated for completion by the end of next year, is expected to help ease delays somewhat.

The FAA is considering three options for a major airport redesign aimed at realigning runways to allow more planes to take off at once. Construction would take 10 to 15 years and would not start until 2010 at the earliest, at an estimated cost of between $5 billion to $6 billion.

Meanwhile, the search for more immediate solutions has created an uproar.

Neighbors in the Philadelphia suburbs, and other areas along the East Coast, are angry over an airspace redesign meant to give planes more room. They say the change, which could go into effect next month, will force more flights over their homes and reduce property values.

The FAA also is moving toward alleviating congestion with new navigational technology that would get more planes in the sky at once by allowing them to fly closer together. But air traffic controllers say that would only make the problems worse.

"The cause of delays is not in the air," Chapman said. "The cause of delays is on the ground."

Poor runway arrangement limits the number of planes that can take off from the airport at once, especially during bad weather, Chapman said. Although a small runway was added in 1999, most of the layout dates back to the 1970s or earlier.

But FAA officials call the changes a must for improving the region's clogged system.

"What you have to do is look to use technology and airspace design," FAA spokesman Jim Peters said. "How we improve things in New York and Philadelphia ultimately improves things in the rest of the country."

Meanwhile, on the ground, baggage handling remains a major struggle three years after a Christmas 2004 disaster. That year, US Airways had to cancel hundreds of flights and thousands of pieces of luggage were stranded in Philadelphia after scores of flight attendants and baggage handlers called in sick.

The airline has since allocated $20 million toward improving baggage handling facilities, but it's still trying to streamline the operation. Eventually, Durrant said, a new system will be able to process up to 1,200 bags an hour, up from the current 700.

In the meantime, Philadelphia's mayor-elect urged travelers to be patient and beseeched them not to allow delays at the city-owned airport to tarnish Philadelphia's image.

"None of these challenges are insurmountable," Michael Nutter said the morning after he was elected Nov. 6. "I'd like to remind many of you that the city of Philadelphia does not handle baggage, nor do we fly airplanes."
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 05:20 AM   #43
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I travel a lot domestically in Indonesia. ANd last time experiencing delay was during my YOG-CGK flight, it was for one hours,,, in fact the flight duration is only 55 minutes
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 08:02 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Plane delayed?
It might be Philadelphia airport's fault, thanks to poor design, bad weather

20 November 2007

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - In a terrible year for flight delays nationwide, this city's outdated airport has become a hub of the East Coast maelstrom.

Holiday travelers from Maine to Florida shouldn't hold their breath, either. It could be decades before passengers see significant improvements at Philadelphia International Airport, routinely one of the nation's most delayed.

Federal Aviation Administration officials, airlines, air traffic controllers and others say Philadelphia plays a major role in delays up and down the coast thanks to poor airport design, bad weather, heavy traffic and close proximity to New York.

"If you wanted to show an airport that shows the opposite of what efficient is, Philly would be the poster child," said Don Chapman, local president of the National Air Traffic Controllers union.

Through September, 68 percent of departures were on time in Philadelphia, better only than New York's JFK International, Chicago's O'Hare International and Liberty International in Newark, N.J. Fewer than two-thirds of arrivals were on time in Philadelphia during that period.

Nationwide, the airline industry suffered its worst on-time performance in 13 years through September. Over that period, the nation's 20 largest carriers reported that nearly a quarter of all flights arrived late, the most since the industry started keeping track in 1995.

The FAA has deemed Philadelphia a "pacing" airport that, because it sits in the middle of the busy East Coast air corridor, causes delays nationwide. It is debating how to improve the airport, which last year ranked 16th in the nation by passenger volume, but is consistently near the bottom of the 32 largest airports in on-time performance.

"It seems like if somebody sneezes in Harrisburg, we've got delays in Philadelphia," said Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for US Airways, the airport's dominant carrier.

There is little hope of major relief for this year's holiday travelers. Rain and fog on Monday and Tuesday caused delays leading up to the Thanksgiving rush.

Airport officials are working on extending one runway to accommodate bigger planes. That project, slated for completion by the end of next year, is expected to help ease delays somewhat.

The FAA is considering three options for a major airport redesign aimed at realigning runways to allow more planes to take off at once. Construction would take 10 to 15 years and would not start until 2010 at the earliest, at an estimated cost of between $5 billion to $6 billion.

Meanwhile, the search for more immediate solutions has created an uproar.

Neighbors in the Philadelphia suburbs, and other areas along the East Coast, are angry over an airspace redesign meant to give planes more room. They say the change, which could go into effect next month, will force more flights over their homes and reduce property values.

The FAA also is moving toward alleviating congestion with new navigational technology that would get more planes in the sky at once by allowing them to fly closer together. But air traffic controllers say that would only make the problems worse.

"The cause of delays is not in the air," Chapman said. "The cause of delays is on the ground."

Poor runway arrangement limits the number of planes that can take off from the airport at once, especially during bad weather, Chapman said. Although a small runway was added in 1999, most of the layout dates back to the 1970s or earlier.

But FAA officials call the changes a must for improving the region's clogged system.

"What you have to do is look to use technology and airspace design," FAA spokesman Jim Peters said. "How we improve things in New York and Philadelphia ultimately improves things in the rest of the country."

Meanwhile, on the ground, baggage handling remains a major struggle three years after a Christmas 2004 disaster. That year, US Airways had to cancel hundreds of flights and thousands of pieces of luggage were stranded in Philadelphia after scores of flight attendants and baggage handlers called in sick.

The airline has since allocated $20 million toward improving baggage handling facilities, but it's still trying to streamline the operation. Eventually, Durrant said, a new system will be able to process up to 1,200 bags an hour, up from the current 700.

In the meantime, Philadelphia's mayor-elect urged travelers to be patient and beseeched them not to allow delays at the city-owned airport to tarnish Philadelphia's image.

"None of these challenges are insurmountable," Michael Nutter said the morning after he was elected Nov. 6. "I'd like to remind many of you that the city of Philadelphia does not handle baggage, nor do we fly airplanes."
I had to spend the night in the O'Hare terminal one time due to my plane getting a late start from Philadelphia. Good cheesesteak sandwiches though.
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 09:27 AM   #45
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Holiday Travel Will Test NYC Airports
20 November 2007

NEW YORK (AP) - Nearly 1.7 million travelers are expected to pass through New York's three major airports over the next five days, and if things go poorly, the airlines may have more to worry about than snarling passengers.

U.S. transportation officials have been saying for months that air carriers may be scheduling more flights through the metropolitan region than the airspace can handle.

Almost three of every four flight delays in the country can now be traced back to a problem at greater New York's major airports, John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia. At nearby Philadelphia International Airport, poor airport design aggravates the coast-to-coast delays.

JFK, Newark and Philadelphia, along with Chicago's O'Hare International, had the worst on-time performance among the nation's airports through September.

Nationwide, nearly a quarter of all flights on the 20 largest airlines arrived late, the industry's worst performance since it started keeping track in 1995. The delays were so bad, President Bush has gotten involved in trying to solve the problem.

Federal officials are threatening to forcibly thin congestion by capping the number of hourly flights at JFK. The airlines have fought the proposal, saying it could drive up fares and force them to reduce service to smaller cities.

But momentum has been building for some type of restriction on flights. A critical Federal Aviation Administration report on the problem is due in early December.

With the decision looming, the region's airports face a critical test this week. The three New York airports and Philadelphia all had delays of about an hour on Tuesday afternoon, according to the FAA.

Air carriers have scheduled a crush of 3,492 takeoffs and landings Wednesday at JFK, Newark and LaGuardia. Another 3,398 flights are scheduled for Sunday, the day many Americans return from their Thanksgiving holiday.

Things are expected to be at their worst after 3 p.m. Sunday at JFK, when 194 flight operations are planned in a two-hour window. That's one takeoff or landing every 37 seconds.

The U.S. Department of Transportation suggested this fall that Kennedy could handle a maximum of 80 or 81 aircraft per hour. That's about 20 fewer than scheduled for each hour during that window.

But officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airports, say they are up to the challenge.

The Bush administration and the FAA announced a number of initiatives last week in an attempt to help with the rush.

Commercial flights will temporarily be able to use military airspace off the Atlantic coast that is usually restricted.

Jets leaving Newark, Kennedy and Philadelphia will be able to use some new takeoff patterns that have the potential to help aircraft leave the area more quickly. Some changes have been authorized that may also speed landings.

JetBlue CEO David Barger said those measures will help.

"You get 1 percent here, 2 percent there ... It doesn't sound like a big deal, but they are a big deal when you add them together," Barger said.

The Philadelphia airport's problems are so extensive, significant improvements could take decades.

Poor runway arrangement limits the number of planes that can take off from Philadelphia at once, especially during bad weather, said Don Chapman, local president of the National Air Traffic Controllers union. Although a small runway was added in 1999, most of the layout dates back to the 1970s or earlier.

"If you wanted to show an airport that shows the opposite of what efficient is, Philly would be the poster child," Chapman said.

The FAA is considering three options for a major airport redesign aimed at realigning runways to allow more planes to take off at once. Construction would take 10 to 15 years and would not start until 2010 at the earliest, at an estimated cost of between $5 billion to $6 billion.

In the shorter term, airport officials are working on extending one runway to accommodate bigger planes. That project, slated for completion by the end of next year, is expected to help ease delays somewhat.

Meanwhile, other proposed solutions that could be implemented more quickly have created an uproar.

Neighbors in the Philadelphia suburbs, and other areas along the East Coast, are angry over an airspace redesign meant to give planes more room. They say the change, which could go into effect next month, will force more flights over their homes and reduce property values.

Two congressmen, one from Pennsylvania and another from New Jersey, on Tuesday called for emergency litigation to stop the plan. They said it was being rushed and could pose safety concerns.

The FAA also is moving toward alleviating congestion with new navigational technology that would get more planes in the sky at once by allowing them to fly closer together.

Chapman said that would only make the problems worse.

"The cause of delays is not in the air," he said. "The cause of delays is on the ground."

But FAA officials call the changes a must for improving the region's clogged system.

"What you have to do is look to use technology and airspace design," FAA spokesman Jim Peters said. "How we improve things in New York and Philadelphia ultimately improves things in the rest of the country."

------

Patrick Walters reported on this story from Philadelphia.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 12:00 PM   #46
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NYC Comptroller Reports Area Flight Delays Getting Worse
2 December 2007

NEW YORK (AP)--Flight delays at New York airports are getting worse every year at a rate much faster than other U.S. cities, polluting the air and eroding the city's ability to compete in the global marketplace, a city official said Sunday.

In a 36-page report, City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. said the on-time performance of commercial aircraft at the three major regional airports was 13% below the national average - or nearly three times more than in 2003, he said.

"One of New York City's major competitive advantages is its outstanding air connections with the rest of the nation and the world. This advantage is now being degraded by the declining reliability of air travel into and out of New York," Thompson said in a statement.

Thompson said the Federal Aviation Administration needed to modernize an "antiquated" air traffic control system, train more controllers and stop overscheduling airline flights during peak hours.

He recommended temporary caps on flight numbers at John F. Kennedy and Newark-Liberty International Airports. Three of four of the nation's delayed flights come from Kennedy, Newark and LaGuardia Airports.

He said his recommendations could ease delays and save airlines and passengers nearly $260 million a year at Kennedy Airport alone.

FAA spokesman Brian Turmail said the White House announced last September that New York airport delays would be given "special priority" to speed changes. The agency, he said, has taken several steps including a redesign of East Coast flight routes to ease congestion at peak hours.

"What we are looking for are more suggestions as to how the situation might be improved," Turmail said. "There have been some, but this is a little like relying on a handkerchief when a parachute is needed - it's not going to be enough."
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Old December 4th, 2007, 06:17 AM   #47
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Airline Oct On-Time Rate Improved Over Year-ago, DOT Says
3 December 2007
Dow Jones News Service

Airlines improved their on-time performance in October, recording an on-time rate of 78.2%, better than 72.9% in the same month last year but below September's 81.7%, the Department of Transportation said Monday.

For the first 10 months of the year, the on-time arrival rate was the second-worst in 13 years, breaking a trend in prior reports of reaching the worst level in 13 years.

Also, the DOT said an investigation into six airlines operating 25 chronically delayed flights resulted in improved arrival performance in the third quarter.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 05:42 PM   #48
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US Airways Offers Employee Bonus If Flight, Baggage Goals Met
11 December 2007

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)-- US Airways Group (LCC) is offering its employees $100 bonuses if flights leave on time and bags don't get lost this holiday season.

After a summer full of flight delays, the airline wants to meet specific performance goals in November and December: at least 60% of all flights must depart at the scheduled time or earlier, and mishandled bags must be limited to no more than seven bags per 1,000 bags.

If both goals are met, the company's roughly 36,000 employees will get $100. That includes about 5,300 people who work at the airline's largest hub in Charlotte, N.C. If one goal is met, employees will get $50.

US Airways spokesman Phil Gee said as of Sunday, both goals were being met with 60.9% of flights leaving on time and 6.15 mishandled bags per 1,000.
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Old December 13th, 2007, 05:34 AM   #49
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Plan to ration flights in NYC could slow airline growth
12 December 2007

NEW YORK (AP) - British billionaire Richard Branson wants Virgin America to be the next JetBlue, an upstart that challenges the big boys with low prices and dazzles passengers with stylish mood-lighting, black leather seats and an in-flight entertainment system.

But any hope the new airline has of becoming a major player in one of its premier markets -- New York -- could be dashed if federal regulators go ahead with a plan to cap the number of flights at the city's major airports.

The company is one of several whose future business plans may be at stake as the government shapes a plan to battle chronic flight delays by forcing airlines to trim their schedules in New York, where runway bottlenecks now cause problems nationwide.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters is scheduled to deliver a report to the president on the problem next week, and officials have told the airlines she is all but certain to recommend reinstating hourly flight limits at John F. Kennedy International.

Industry experts said that, depending on the program's final shape, flight caps could make it harder for new carriers to expand in New York and force established airlines to be more selective about where they fly.

The end result, Bear, Stearns & Co. analyst Frank Boroch said, could be a cooling-off of the fare wars that have made air travel to the city relatively cheap.

"While airlines may be unhappy with the restraints on some of their opportunities, if they are actually able to deliver their product on time to customers, and reduce costs (related to delays), the industry could benefit," he said.

Passengers may see prices go up slightly, but Boroch suggested the sacrifice might be worth it if their planes, now routinely hours late, arrive on time.

That opinion is not shared by officials at airlines hoping to grow in New York. Caps, they say, will almost certainly mean limited availability of slots to newcomers.

"What this basically means is that if you have a small airline and you want to serve New York, you can forget it," said Edward Faberman, a spokesman for the Air Carrier Association of America, whose members include AirTran, Frontier and Spirit.

U.S. transportation officials have been saying for weeks that Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty have been pushed past their breaking points by the fast expansion of carriers like JetBlue. Fare wars have lured so many fliers that runways at all three airports are now essentially overbooked for several hours each day.

Prior to Jan. 1, the airlines were not allowed to schedule more than 86 operations per hour during peak travel times. Transportation officials have suggested Kennedy can actually handle no more than 81 flights per hour, far fewer than the 100 or more that are now scheduled during the busiest times of day.

Hourly flight limits already exist at LaGuardia, and officials said similar caps are also likely to be added to Newark.

The caps could, in theory, reduce delays by keeping the airlines from over-scheduling, but the restrictions would raise the question of how the government would go about distributing the available slots.

Department of Transportation spokesman Brian Turmail declined to comment on the agency's plans, saying they were still being developed. But DOT officials have told airline executives that one option could be auctioning slots to the highest bidder.

It is not yet clear who could legally collect the money from such a scheme, or what it would mean for airlines with questionable ability to pay prices likely to exceed $1 million (euro680,000) per slot.

Any auction plan would likely face a legal challenge from major carriers, who have spent billions of dollars developing terminals and establishing routes. The Air Transport Association said that if the slots for those routes were then auctioned off, it would make those investments worthless.

Flight caps and slot auctions are also opposed by politicians representing small cities that could see less service if the airlines are forced to pay top dollar for each takeoff or landing.

"I think flight caps should be the very last resort," said Sen. Charles Schumer, who recalled the days when flights out of cities like Buffalo and Rochester cost as much as a ticket to Europe because of a lack of competition.

A number of airlines have asked federal authorities to instead try boosting the capacity of New York's airports -- steps that the Federal Aviation Administration already hopes to take by redesigning airspace and upgrading navigational technology.

Even with those changes, however, the DOT's Turmail said some type of flight cap may be unavoidable. Airlines have informed the DOT that they intended to boost their schedules at JFK by as much as 22 percent next summer -- an increase Turmail said the airport cannot possibly handle.

If rationing has to happen, larger air carriers and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airports, favor the adoption of a scheduling system similar to one used abroad.

Under that plan, carriers already established at an airport are basically guaranteed the same number of spots they had the previous year. Unused slots, or new ones created by capacity improvements, could be distributed to newcomers by lottery, auction or some other means.

That type of rationing, however, creates problems for newcomers like Virgin America, which began its first flights between the west coast and New York in August. It now has eight flights per day that touch down in New York.

"Certainly it is a key market for us," said Virgin America spokeswoman Abby Lunardini. "We hope to have a presence there going forward. Our main concern is not being effectively locked out."
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Old December 19th, 2007, 05:34 AM   #50
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Airline industry seeks to block NY's passenger 'bill of rights'
18 December 2007

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - In a case that could affect passengers delayed on planes at airports nationwide, an industry trade group is challenging New York's law requiring airlines to provide food, water, clean toilets and fresh air to passengers stuck on the ground for more than three hours.

New York lawmakers passed the "airline passenger bill of rights" -- the first law of its kind in the nation -- after a series of delays last winter at John F. Kennedy International Airport that left some passengers stranded for more than 10 hours with no food or water, overflowing toilets and no air conditioning.

Industry lawyers told a federal judge Tuesday that their challenge isn't about not wanting to provide for delayed passengers.

"The only question in this case is whether the state of New York can tell airlines what to provide," said Robert Span, an attorney for the Air Transport Association.

The industry group is trying to stop the law from taking effect on Jan. 1, arguing that only the federal government can regulate airline services.

State legislators and passenger rights advocates said they pushed for the law because federal regulators have long failed to address what they say has become a chronic problem, particularly at New York airports.

"I would love for Washington to step forward, set a standard for the whole country and take care of business once and for all," said Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat who sponsored the legislation in the state Assembly. "They didn't do it. We had to step forward as the state which is dealing with the greatest delays in the country."

A recent federal report showed that about 24 percent of flights nationally arrived late in the first 10 months of the year, which was the industry's second-worst performance record since comparable data began being collected in 1995.

JFK had the third-worst on-time arrival record of any major U.S. airport through October, behind the New York area's other two major airports, LaGuardia and Newark, according to the report.

In a court hearing Tuesday, airline industry association lawyers said they're worried that if New York's law is upheld, other states will follow with their own laws, which would result in a confusing patchwork of state regulations.

Paul Hudson, an attorney with the nonprofit Aviation Consumer Action Project who appeared in court alongside a lawyer from the state attorney general's office, said other states likely would pass similar laws.

"Other states will copy it with some slight variations -- but nothing is going to be ridiculous," he said after the hearing.

If enough states pass airline passenger rights laws, the federal government would probably create its own version, which would provide the uniform set of rules the airlines want, Hudson said.

In response to questions from U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn, the Air Transport Association's Span acknowledged that there are currently no federal rules governing services airlines provide during ground delays. He said the federal Transportation Department is considering establishing some.

After the hearing, Span said many airlines -- including JetBlue, whose delays after grounding more than a thousand flights during a Valentine's Day ice storm last year were the main impetus behind New York's law -- have established their own policies to provide better service to delayed passengers.

Charles Fuschillo Jr., a Long Island Republican who sponsored the legislation in the state Senate, said the law passed only after the airlines proved that they weren't doing any better and were unresponsive to state lawmakers' concerns.

"The airline industry said, 'We can do this,' but I made it very clear to them that they had failed to provide consumers with basic necessities," Fuschillo said.

The airline industry has asked Kahn for a summary judgment in the case -- meaning he would decide based on legal arguments without a jury trial -- and to block the law from taking effect on Jan. 1.

The judge said he plans to make a decision within a week.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 05:06 AM   #51
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Analysts say plan to cap NYC flights will benefit carriers
19 December 2007

NEW YORK (AP) - Analysts view established carriers such as JetBlue Airways Corp. and Continental Airlines Inc. as winners -- and smaller startups or any carrier looking to grow as losers -- under the federal government's plan to limit the number of hourly flights at New York area airports.

Under new Transportation Department rules set to take effect in March, John F. Kennedy International Airport will be allowed only 82 to 83 flights per hour at peak times, down significantly from 90 to 100 per hour at peak times this past summer. Newark Liberty Airport faces similar caps, though the exact number has yet to be determined. Flight caps are already in place at LaGuardia Airport.

For carriers that already have significant operations at the airports, flight caps help by keeping competitors out.

"It discourages new entrants," said Michael Derchin, an analyst at FTN Midwest Securities Corp., in New York.

That's good for incumbent airlines, but not for consumers.

"A tighter seat supply could enable airlines to raise prices," said Ray Neidl, an analyst at Calyon Securities in New York.

Obvious beneficiaries include JetBlue and Houston-based Continental, the largest carriers at JFK and Newark, respectively. Hurt by the plan are small carriers hoping to launch flights to or from JFK or Newark at peak morning or afternoon travel times. Foreign carriers looking to take advantage of the Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and European Union may find they can serve JFK only at undesirable off-peak times.

Left in the middle are carriers such as Delta Air Lines Inc., which has already ratcheted back plans to add more flights at JFK during peak periods, anticipating flight caps.

"The (Federal Aviation Administration) and (Department of Transportation) must respect our efforts to address delays in the New York area through schedule reductions and ensure that new entrant carriers are not allowed to add new flights in the congested period," said Delta CEO Richard Anderson in a statement.

Bob Cortelyou, Delta's senior vice president of network and planning, said the airline's overall number of flights will not change under the plan. Aircraft will simply fly later in the evening, or during the late-morning to early afternoon lull.

JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin said the airline is confident it can shuffle its schedule to meet the cap without trimming service.

Larger, established carriers would also be the likely winners in any slot auction process, analysts say. If, in the future, technological or capacity improvements let JFK increase its hourly flights, the government's plan calls for additional slots to be sold off in a slot auction.

"The guys with the biggest pockets," would have the best chances of winning those auctions, Derchin said.

------

Associated Press Writers David Caruso in New York and Devlin Barrett, in Washington, contributed to this report.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 05:23 AM   #52
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US air passenger group welcomes rules for stranded travelers

NEW YORK, Dec 21, 2007 (AFP) - A group representing US air travelers claimed victory Friday after a New York judge ruled that airlines in the state must provide essential services to passengers stranded for long periods of time.

The decision means that from January 1, any passengers stuck in planes on runways at New York's airports for more than three hours must be given food, water, fresh air and given access to working toilets.

Airlines face fines of up to 1,000 dollars per passenger for not adhering to the new rules.

Campaigners urged other states to follow suit, in what they hope will eventually become a nationwide bill of rights for air passengers.

"This represents a major victory and positions us to move forward with similar measures in other states," said Burt Rubin, from the Coalition for an Airline Passengers Bill of Rights.

"If the federal government won't enact a uniform standard, states must fill the void," added Kate Hanni, the group's president.

Increased security at US airports since the September 11 attacks of 2001, a reduction in services provided by airlines and an increase in passenger numbers have combined to make air travel difficult for millions of people every year.

"Profit and economics are the primary reasons that the airlines make decisions that are not passenger based," Hanni told AFP.

Airlines opposed Thursday's decision and the Air Transport Association said it was considering appealing the ruling.
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Old January 11th, 2008, 04:04 AM   #53
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FAA plan to reduce flight delays faces political fight over noise; jets wil be re-routed
10 January 2008

NEW YORK (AP) - For years, jets taking off from Newark Liberty International Airport have performed an act of mercy as they roar south.

Moments after leaving the ground, the planes bank left, out over an industrial port district, and away from the residential streets of Elizabeth, N.J., the working-class city that sits right up against the busy airport.

Maneuvers like this are a common method of sparing citizens from the window-ratting noise of jets passing overhead.

But now such practices are being dropped in some places in the Northeast as part of a federal plan to ease record flight delays. And some neighborhoods that fear they will be subjected to more noise are fighting back in court.

On Dec. 19, the Federal Aviation Administration began its first overhaul in decades of the jet routes that crisscross the country's most congested airspace -- a 31,000-square-mile area around New York and Philadelphia.

The corridor has been criticized for years as one of the worst problem spots in the nation's beleaguered air traffic system. Most the paths were laid out in the 1960s. Some date from the earliest days of air travel, and airlines have been complaining for years that they are horribly outdated.

Over the next five years, the FAA will be rolling out new routes it believes can cut flight delays by as much as 20 percent. Some aviation experts say improvements are essential; nearly three quarters of all flight delays nationally are caused by backups in New York and Philadelphia.

But a closer look at the revamped flight routes shows that the changes will lead to more noise for tens of thousands of people, many of whom are already are subject to the whine of jet engines because of their proximity to airports.

In Elizabeth, N.J., the changes will mean that some planes will fly straight over the center of the city.

"The FAA plan will do more harm to the city of Elizabeth than any terrorist incident," said Mayor Chris Bollwage.

"We live next to the airport, so we have to take some noise," he said. But the FAA plan, he added, stretches fairness. "There are places in town where you can touch the tires."

At least 12 lawsuits have been filed so far in an attempt to stop the plan. Congress ordered the Government Accountability Office to examine the FAA's method for choosing the new routes. Top lawmakers from several states have demanded changes. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., threatened to block Senate confirmation of acting FAA administrator Robert Sturgell if the agency doesn't halt implementation.

So far, the complaints haven't stopped the FAA. Last month, the agency began phasing in new traffic patterns at the Newark and Philadelphia airports that allow departing planes to fan out in several directions as they climb, rather than stick to a single path.

In theory, the change will allow more takeoffs per hour, but outside Philadelphia it will also mean more planes over a cluster of suburbs in Delaware County, just west of the airport.

Since the first of the changes went into effect in Philadelphia on Dec. 19, the airport said it has been getting three complaints a day about noise, compared with about one every two days in the previous three months.

FAA officials say the airspace redesign will actually lead to a reduction in noise for a majority of people, largely because the changes will allow planes to fly at higher altitudes.

But sound-modeling data released by the agency reveals that the gains and losses will not be spread evenly. Loud neighborhoods will, on average, be getting louder, while the biggest improvements will be in places that aren't that noisy to begin with.

According to the FAA, an additional 30,600 people will find themselves living in neighborhoods where the average daily aircraft noise level is 60 to 65 decibels -- considered the high edge of tolerable for a residential area.

Noise at that level is far from earsplitting; experts say it is less than residents might experience if they lived next to a busy road. But it is loud enough that people have to raise their voices as a plane passes overhead.

The number of people living in areas where the average decibel level is between 55 and 60 will rise by 79,813.

The big losers will be a few communities near Newark and Philadelphia that already hear a good deal of airplane traffic because of their proximity to the airports. There will also be a slight to moderate increase in noise in parts of Morris and Sussex counties in northern New Jersey.

The big winners are people who live a little farther away, and now hear a medium amount of noise.

By 2011, the FAA estimates that there will be nearly 728,650 fewer people living in areas where the daily noise level is between 45 and 55 decibels -- louder than a refrigerator hum, but quieter than two people talking in a room.

Many of those people are in a corridor running southwest from New Brunswick, N.J. There will also be noise benefits in pockets of densely populated Essex County, N.J., which includes Newark, and parts of northeastern Pennsylvania.

The opposition is not just coming from areas likely to see big changes.

Fourteen municipalities in western Connecticut have been trying to get the plan blocked, largely because it will shift an arrival path for New York's LaGuardia Airport eastward, creating what the FAA says will be slightly more noise for some towns in Connecticut.

"It's a quality-of-life issue," said Rudy Marconi, a spokesman for the Alliance for Sensible Airspace Planning and a selectman in Ridgefield, Conn., 40 miles northeast of LaGuardia. "Will I get used to it? Probably. But should I have to get used to it?"
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Old January 15th, 2008, 09:18 AM   #54
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Federal policy will let airports charge landing fees based on time of day, traffic volume
14 January 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congested airports nationwide can charge landing fees based on the time flights land and traffic volume instead of on the plane's weight, according to a federal policy introduced Monday.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said the policy will make it easier for airports to reduce delays by encouraging airlines to spread their flights more evenly throughout the day.

Some analysts say while the new fees will encourage competition among airports, consumers ultimately will foot the bill.

Airline arrival rates through November were the second worst since comparable data began being collected in 1995, the Transportation Department said earlier this month. The new policy will encourage congested airports in New York and elsewhere to include the cost of projects designed to expand capacity in the new landing fees now instead of after construction has been completed, Peters said.

The policy also will allow operators of multiple airports, such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to distribute landing-fee revenue among facilities, she said.

But the Port Authority, which runs John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia and New Jersey's Newark Liberty, said the new policy is a minor fix for a major problem. Through November, those three airports had the lowest on-time arrival rates, and aviation officials say delays there cascade throughout the system, causing 75 percent of the nation's flight delays.

"It's good the (Federal Aviation Administration) is focusing on the delays issue, but these small steps don't address the fundamental problem when dramatic action is needed," according to a Port Authority statement. "The right solution is expanding capacity through 21st century technologies, working with the airlines on more rational schedules and better customer service."

The Air Transport Association, which represents the nation's largest airlines, cast the policy as "congestion pricing disguised as an airport fee," and echoed the call for a more comprehensive fix.

"Unfortunately, (the policy) does nothing to fix the primary cause of delays -- our nation's increasingly antiquated air traffic control system," ATA President and CEO Jim May said in a statement. "Additional fees ... will only increase the cost of flying for the consumer."

But, the association representing airport owners and operators welcomed the change, lauding Peters for recognizing that "airport proprietors are in the best position to manage the use of the facilities they planned, financed, built and currently operate," Airports Council International-North America President Greg Principato said in a release.

Consumers flying at peak travel times should not be singled out just because the airports are charging airlines more for their flights, but all travelers likely will see ticket prices rise as carriers distribute the additional cost, said Terry Trippler, a travel expert who's had air fares on his radar for decades. Still, he welcomed the new policy.

"The best part about this is that it opens up competition among airports," Trippler said, adding that airports in Memphis or Philadelphia who see their counterparts in Atlanta or New York raising landing fees may opt not to follow suit as a way to attract more business. "That's what we want and that's what we need."

The proposed landing fee policy will be open to public comment for 45 days before finalized.

To avoid another summer of record delays, Peters last month said flight caps will begin in March at New York City area airports.

JFK will be allowed 82 or 83 flights per hour at the peak times, down from about 100 that had been scheduled last summer. Similar caps, which already exist at LaGuardia, also will go into effect at Newark, but the exact number hasn't been determined.

In its criticism of flight caps, The Port Authority has said they may raise ticket prices or force some travelers to fly at inconvenient times.

Meanwhile, the airlines and the FAA are pressing for a new, $15 billion satellite-based air traffic control system to improve operations. In late August, the agency awarded ITT Corp. a contract worth up to $1.8 billion to build the first portion of a system that will take nearly 20 years to complete.
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Old January 19th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #55
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Emirates to paris on Monday 1hr delay out of DXB
Emirates to Dubai on Thursday 3hr delay out of CDG

Emirates are the worst delayed carrier around and if I dident have over 250 000miles with them Id start flying Etihad
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Old February 6th, 2008, 07:49 AM   #56
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2007 Airline Delays 2nd Worst Ever
5 February 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) - A quarter of domestic flights failed to arrive on time in 2007 -- the industry's second poorest performance on record -- and analysts say it is likely to get worse.

More than 26 percent of commercial flights in the U.S. arrived late or were canceled last year as rising passenger demand and an industry preference for smaller planes intensified congestion in the skies and on runways. The air-travel logjam, reported Tuesday by the Department of Transportation, comes as a growing number of air traffic controllers near retirement age -- a trend the controllers' union says will magnify the problem.

The only time passengers had more difficulty getting to their destinations on time was in 2000, when more than 27 percent of flights were tardy or canceled. Back then, there were 31 percent fewer flights than in 2007, when carriers operated nearly 7.5 million one-way trips.

Excluding cancellations, however, 2007 was the worst on record for flight delays, with 24.2 percent arriving late, compared with 23.9 percent in 2000, according to government statistics that date back to 1995. The worst month of the year for the nation's 20 largest airlines was December, when more than a third of all flights were late or canceled, mostly because of the weather.

There is no sign of improvement on the horizon, analysts said, because airlines continue to replace larger aircraft with smaller ones. The practice is intended to maximize profit margins by flying with fewer empty seats, but it also means more flights and more congestion and delays.

The use of smaller planes also increases airlines' exposure to rising fuel prices, since it costs them more money per seat to operate, said Robert Mann, an airline consultant in Port Washington, N.Y. The industry has said that rising fuel prices are expected to again cut into profits this year and some airlines have raised their fuel surcharges to compensate.

President Bush has demanded action to avoid another summer of record delays, but there is little consensus among airlines, airport operators, Congress and the administration on what should be done.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been locked in a contract dispute with the union representing air traffic controllers since 2006. While the agency insists staffing has no impact on flight delays, the union says congestion problems will worsen unless the government hires more air traffic controllers and pays them better.

"A smaller, less experienced work force will have an adverse impact on system efficiency," said Paul Rinaldi, executive vice president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

In an effort to address the airline delay problem, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters earlier this month said congested airports can charge landing fees based on the time flights land and traffic volume to encourage carriers to spread operations more evenly throughout the day.

But the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty, said the new policy was a minor fix for a major problem. In 2007, those three airports had the lowest on-time arrival rates, and aviation officials say delays there cascade throughout the system and cause three-quarters of all flight delays.

The Air Transport Association, which represents the nation's largest airlines, also said a more comprehensive fix is needed.

The trade group and the Port Authority prefer flight-path changes and improvements aimed at increasing the flight capacity at airports.

Under another federal plan, New York City area airports will start flight caps in March with JFK limited to about 80 flights per hour at peak times, down from about 100 that had been scheduled last summer. Similar caps, which already exist at LaGuardia, also will go into effect at Newark.

The airlines and the FAA, meanwhile, are pressing for a new $15 billion satellite-based air traffic control system, dubbed NextGen, that will take nearly 20 years to complete to improve operations.

Peters on Monday said the Bush administration's $68 billion fiscal 2009 budget proposal for the department would more than double the investment in NextGen technology to $688 million. But airport operators criticized the proposal for cutting the FAA's airport improvement program to $2.75 billion in funding, which is $765 million less than this year.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines, a subsidiary of SkyWest Inc., had the worst on-time arrival rate last year at 64.7 percent, while Hawaiian Airlines topped the list at more than 93 percent. American Eagle Airlines, which operates regional flights for AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, had the worst December with more than 46 percent of its flights delayed by at least 15 minutes. Aloha Airlines had the best on-time arrival rate in December at 93 percent.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 05:03 PM   #57
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If there's something that I hate, is being delayed by someone else's fault.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 09:50 AM   #58
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Airline group says London's Heathrow airport saw more flight delays than other EU hubs
19 February 2008

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - The world's busiest airport, London Heathrow, saw more delays than any other major European airport last year -- for the second consecutive year, an airline group said Tuesday.

The Association of European Airlines, which represents more than 30 European carriers, said flights from all airports were still seeing an increasing number of delays, a trend that started in 2003 even before new security checks lengthened lines at airports two years ago.

Some 35 percent of flights at Heathrow were delayed last year, the AEA said. Heathrow handles more than 480,000 flights a year and is Europe's main hub for flights to the rest of the world.

In general, the airlines say 40 percent of flights at all airports see delays because the aircraft is not ready to depart -- either because bags and passengers have not been loaded on time or there is a small problem with the plane.

Most other flights are delayed because of bad weather, too much traffic at airports or failure to win speedy approval from air traffic control to allow take off.

"This last category of so-called 'slot delays' highlights the perennial problem of European airspace congestion," the AEA said, blaming bottlenecks at a few key European airports.

It said it was hopeful that things would change as regulators try to reduce zigzag flight route through European airspace controlled by a patchwork of national governments -- which makes air travel over Europe some 70 percent less cost efficient than the U.S.

An EU experts' group said last year that fragmented air traffic control placed an unnecessary financial burden on airlines and passengers amounting to 3.3 billion euros ($4.4 billion) annually and also added to air traffic bottlenecks and increased air pollution.

After Heathrow, London's Gatwick, Rome, Dublin and Paris Charles de Gaulle saw the worst delays, the AEA said.

For a timely flight, Brussels wins over the other 26 major airports as the most punctual air hub, the AEA said. Just under 17 percent of Brussels flights saw delays. Germany's Duesseldorf; Vienna; Oslo and Milan-Linate also scored well for punctuality.
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Old March 6th, 2008, 10:31 AM   #59
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NY judges: Passenger law might interfere with aviation rules
5 March 2008

NEW YORK (AP) - A federal appeals panel seemed impatient Wednesday with arguments supporting the first law in the nation requiring airlines to provide food, water, clean toilets and fresh air to passengers trapped in a plane delayed on the ground.

All three judges expressed skepticism that states should be allowed to impose such a law on an industry already subject to extensive federal oversight. It was likely, they implied through their questions, that federal authority would pre-empt state laws on the issue.

New York's law requires relief for people who have been trapped in a plane on the ground for at least three hours. It was passed after passengers at Kennedy International Airport were stranded on planes for more than 10 hours with no food and overflowing toilets.

The court did not immediately rule on the constitutionality of New York's Airline Passenger Bill of Rights.

The judges said they were sympathetic to the needs of passengers on planes, but they seemed to agree that only the federal government can regulate airline services.

Judge Brian M. Cogan said New York's law might lead to multiple solutions by states nationwide that would subject airlines to all kinds of requirements.

Judge Debra Ann Livingston agreed. "There is a patchwork problem in that every state should be concerned about this and probably would write different regulations," she said.

Even though the judges had not yet ruled, Judge Richard C. Wesley defended them.

"This is a pre-emption issue. Judges aren't heartless people in black robes. Three judges must decide whether New York stepped over the pre-emption line," Wesley said.

The law was challenged before the appeals court by the Air Transport Association of America, the industry trade group representing leading U.S. airlines.

Seth Waxman, a lawyer for the trade group, told the judges that a dozen other states were considering laws similar to New York's law. He said Congress was considering its own legislation.

"If regulation is required in this area, it must be national to avoid what otherwise is a patchwork solution," Waxman said.

Barbara Underwood, arguing in defense of the law, said it required minimal standards and protected the public.

She said planes in line for takeoff might, after three hours, be forced to return to the gate to pick up more food and water and empty its restrooms or need to summon a delivery service that can take care of it.

A recent federal report showed that about 24 percent of flights nationally arrived late in the first 10 months of last year, which was the industry's second-worst performance record since comparable data began being collected in 1995.

Kennedy airport had the third-worst on-time arrival record of any major U.S. airport through October, behind the New York area's other two major airports, LaGuardia and Newark, according to the report.

Wesley called it a health and safety issue.

"What it really is about is human dignity," Underwood said.

Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, D-Astoria, the prime sponsor of New York Airline Passenger Bill of Rights, said after the arguments that he was not discouraged by the questions posed by the judges. He said he would welcome a national law protecting airline customers.

"I'm hopeful the judges will preserve the law," he said.
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Old March 8th, 2008, 05:45 PM   #60
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After action on flight delays, some improvement at NYC's Kennedy
6 March 2008

NEW YORK (AP) - A year's worth of hand-wringing about flight delays may be paying off at one of the nation's most congested airports.

John F. Kennedy International Airport saw some mild improvements in its chronically awful on-time record over the autumn and winter holiday seasons. About 73 percent of all arrivals and departures were on time in the period between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31, compared to 67 percent during the same period a year earlier.

While the gains weren't earth-shattering, they were enough that in January JFK found itself off the list of the 50 most delayed airports in the country, among hubs with at least 1,000 departures per day. The Queens airport spent most of last year near the top of the most-delayed list.

JFK's better showing came amid an intensive effort to tackle the city's air congestion problem, which has been blamed for causing delays nationwide.

Around Thanksgiving, the U.S. Department of Transportation began a series of initiatives that included tinkering with takeoff routes and taxi patterns and allowing commercial aircraft to avoid traffic by using military airspace.

An aviation task force identified scores of steps that could be taken to boost efficiency at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark (N.J.) Liberty International airports. In December, the Federal Aviation Administration also began its first tentative steps at implementing a major overhaul of the region's airspace.

Aviation officials aren't yet sure if those efforts helped the problem, and it's possible that better weather may explain some of the improvements. But acting FAA Administrator Robert A. Sturgell said Thursday the agency is seeing some positive signs.

"Even with those limited changes, our initial data is promising," Sturgell said.

Aviation authorities aren't through attacking the delay problem in New York.

Starting March 15, the Department of Transportation will begin restricting the number of flights at JFK in an attempt to reduce congestion. No more than 83 flight operations will be allowed per hour, down from as many as 100 last year.

The rule has led to fewer flights being scheduled at peak hours, when delays were worst, and more during the middle of the day.

Similar caps are expected to be announced soon for Newark Liberty International Airport.

"The caps will decrease delays," Sturgell said. He added that the FAA is also accelerating plans to install new equipment at JFK that should allow airlines and controllers to direct planes more efficiently while they are still on the ground.

The FAA's attempts to tackle the flight delay problem haven't been greeted with universal warmth.

Politicians representing communities beneath some of the new flight paths have raised complaints about engine noise, and the union representing air traffic controllers has questioned whether the rush to implement the changes has led to safety compromises.

The changes have yet to produce gains at either LaGuardia and Newark Liberty, which continued to rank among the country's most delay-prone this winter. Philadelphia International Airport, which has also been the subject of a delay-reduction effort, saw a small improvement.

It is possible that the gains at JFK were mostly due to better weather this winter.

Last summer, flights in and out of New York were repeatedly hampered by thunderstorms. Last winter was just as bad. A Valentine's Day ice storm last year overwhelmed Kennedy's busiest domestic carrier, JetBlue, and stranded planes on the tarmac for as long as 10 1/2 hours. Flights were disrupted for days.

"We haven't seen the kind of severe, systematic weather in the Northeast that hit the region last year," said Delta Air Lines spokeswoman Betsy Talton.

JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin said the airline believes, however, that it is seeing benefits of new operating procedures put in place last year.

"Our delay reduction initiatives are definitely showing up in improved operational numbers," Baldwin said.

He predicted more improvements once JFK's flight caps take effect. The changes will mean the airline will be operating near to a full schedule as late as 10:30 p.m., rather than trying to jam all of its takeoffs into the early evening rush hour.
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