Meeting set on JFK overcrowding

Airlines that use delay-plagued Kennedy Airport will meet with the Federal Aviation Administration this month to talk about overhauling its jam-packed flight schedule.

The summit, set for Oct. 23-24, was called by U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters.

It will be one of several meetings to address chronic delays at New York's major airports. Airlines and aviation groups have already met for several weeks to discuss reducing air congestion.

The scheduling meeting is being handled separately because of U.S. antitrust law. Usually, competing airlines are prohibited from coordinating flight schedules. Peters has asked the airlines to discuss "market-based incentives" to trim the number of flights at peak travel times. She also warned that she might impose mandatory restrictions if no solution is found.

This past summer was one of the worst for flight delays.

Aviation officials say problems at New York's airports are partly to blame.

Over the first eight months of 2007, nearly 35 percent of all flights leaving JFK took off at least 15 minutes late, giving it the worst on-time record of any major U.S. airport. It ranked third-worst in the nation for on-time arrivals, after Newark Liberty and LaGuardia.

A spokesman for Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), said Friday that the FAA was also planning a meeting to deal with scheduling issues at Newark.

The Air Transport Association of America, a group that represents airlines, said it welcomed the summit, but believes the FAA should do more to improve airspace capacity in New York.

"No one believes that just posting a 'No Vacancy' sign at JFK is the right way forward," the group said in a written statement.


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