FAA Issues Final Rule on New York Airport Congestion Management

RIN 2120–AJ28 affects John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports.

This final rule is the latest action in a history of congestion management at New York airports. Access to both John F. Kennedy (JFK) and Newark Liberty International (Newark) airports is highly sought after. These two factors have forced the FAA to address a dilemma: how can the agency reduce delays while providing some measure of access to carriers wishing to operate at the airport, thus ensuring competition? While there are many factors contributing to the delays and congestion at JFK and Newark, demand for the associated airspace has out-stripped capacity.

Since the spring of 2006, U.S. air carriers serving JFK have significantly increased their domestic scheduled operations throughout the day. This change in use affected the manner in which the airport’s runways could be used. Historically, the air traffic controllers achieved maximum efficiency at JFK by using either two arrival runways and one departure runway, or two departure runways and one arrival runway, to facilitate the transatlantic traffic flows. The increase in domestic traffic – from the two largest operators at the airport, Delta Air Lines (Delta) and JetBlue – affected the efficient use of JFK's four runways.

As a result of the increase in scheduled operations at JFK, the summer 2007 demand exceeded the airport's capacity during many periods of the day. In 2007 flight delays in the New York City metropolitan area soared. Delays impacted all three major commercial airports and cascaded throughout the NAS. The summer of 2007 became the second worst on record nationally for flight delays. On Sept. 27, 2007, the Secretary of Transportation announced the formation of the New York Aviation Rulemaking Committee (NYARC) to help the Department of Transportation (Department) and the FAA explore available options for congestion management and how changes to current policy at all three major commercial New York City airports would affect the airlines and the airports.

For technical questions regarding this rulemaking, call Nan Shellabarger at (202) 267-7294 or send e-mail to nan.shellabarger@faa.gov.

The above is taken from a 108-page FAA Final Rule document. Read the entire document at federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2008-24046_PI.pdf.

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