The FAA has big (jet) plans for La Guardia Airport.
Last year about 25.9 million people flew into La Guardia from all over. But the FAA thinks that it can handle at least 28.5 million a year. How exactly to get those extra millions into and out of the airport, without causing massive delays, is what is at issue.
There are two basic ways being discussed. First, the FAA could lift its cap on the number of planes which can fly into the airport per hour (there is currently a 79 flights per hour rule which is about to expire). The other option is to have airlines fly bigger planes into the city (recently there has been a growing trend among carriers to fly smaller regional flights with about 50 passengers). Considering the fact that the last time that the plane-cap was lifted the average delays at La Guardia went "from 15 minutes to about 38 minutes" we doubt you will be surprised that the FAA is more interested in the latter. The agency is "seeking Congressional approval of a broad plan to encourage more efficient use of La Guardia." Expected to be written up and approved by mid-2007, the new plan would require airlines to increase the average number of seats on their flights by about 5 to 7 percent.
We think that this is a solid idea. Nobody likes to see gridlock at the airports, but at the same time it is important that we allow as many people as possible to move through our system is possible. The only thing that worries us is that, despite the hopes of companies like Airbus, the trend for smaller and smaller planes doesn't seem to be stopping. We don't think that La Guardia needs more flights coming and going, but we do wonder where all those smaller planes will go.