US Transport Secretary initiates steps to tackle congestion and delays


(CAPA) US Transportation Secretary, Mary E Peters, has charged

a group of airline, airport and travel officials with developing a series of

measures to reduce congestion at New York’s three major airports by the

end of 2007.

She also announced that the Department will develop options for reducing flight schedules at JFK.

Secretary Peters said the Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) was necessary because one-third of the nation’s air traffic goes in, out, or over New York airspace every day, accounting for three-quarters of all chronic airline delays.

The panel will report by Dec-07 a proposal to help reduce congestion by the 2008 Summer travel season.

“If we can fix delays in New York, we will improve flying for a significant number of travellers across the country,” Secretary Peters said.

Secretary Peters also announced formation of a scheduling committee consisting of airlines operating at JFK, to develop recommendations for reducing the number of flights into and out of the overcrowded airport.

But, she said, the preference is to find a way to ... “let market incentives do the job, and not to return to the days of government regulated flights and limited competition.”

The Secretary also said the Department is working to ensure better consumer protection. Those plans include immediate measures to provide travellers with better information on delays, update consumer complaint systems and increase oversight of chronically delayed flights.

The Secretary also called on Congress to act on an Administration proposal to invest in a new satellite-based air traffic control system that will dramatically expand airspace capacity over the next 20 years.

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