Could travelers out of LaGuardia Airport soon see some new airlines or increased service from smaller airlines? If the Bush Administration has its way, there may be some changes ahead for the airport in northern Queens. A law passed by Congress in 2000 attempted to change how landing (and departure) slots were allocated to airlines in airports around the country. Taking advantage of the rules passed in 2000, airlines added an additional 300 flights a day at LaGuardia, causing delays to double and delays across the nation. In an attempt to remedy the situation, the government placed some limits on flights into LGA and now wants to cap the flights into the airport and auction the landing rights to airlines.
Naturally, the airlines that hold rights to the existing spaces at LaGuardia are vehemently opposed to the new system. They say the government should just be concerned with the safety of airlines, not regulating their schedules. The airlines also claim that auctioning off the slots would result in higher costs to the public. Not all airlines, however, are against the government's idea. A group that represents smaller airlines told The Times that the larger airlines are flying smaller planes several times a day when they should use larger planes and give up the extra slots to other airlines.
One great statistic that The Times points out is that LaGuardia, despite only having two intersecting runways handled 400,000 flights last year. In comparison, JFK handled 378,000 flights with two sets of parallel runways. JFK, at 5,000 acres, is also nearly 10 times larger than LaGuardia (560 acres) in size.
All Gothamist is looking for are reasonable prices and flights that aren't quite as delayed as they always seem to be at LaGuardia.
Photo of airplane en route to LaGuardia by mariab3bx on flickr via gothamist contribute. Tag your photos 'gothamist' if you want us to use them!