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FAA extends NYC slot waiver to late 2025

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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has extended a limited waiver of slot usage at the three major New York City area airports — LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy Airport and Newark Liberty Airport — through Oct. 25, 2025, the agency announced.

It also is extending flexibility for affected flights operating between Reagan Washington National Airport and those three airports.

The FAA in early 2023 initially offered the waiver through Sept. 15, 2023, which allowed carriers the ability to reduce their schedules by up to 10% and still retain their slots. It then extended it twice more, first to Oct. 28, 2023, then to Oct. 27, 2024.

Several carriers have taken advantage of the FAA offer and trimmed their New York schedules, most notably United Airlines, which was having difficulties with its operational performance at Newark. In addition, the FAA last year reduced its targeted scheduling limit at Newark to 77 operations per hour.

“Newark is now running the best it has in its history,” United CEO Scott Kirby said this week during a CEO panel at the International Air Transport Association World Air Transport Summit in Dubai. 

Newark’s runways can handle about 77 operations per hour, but carriers used to schedule 87 operations per hour, Kirby added. “Capacity is 77, and it runs well for Newark,” he said. “The customer is way better off. We’re flying bigger airplanes, so the number of seats are the same. We’re flying fewer flights, but the reliability is so much better per customer. This is better for everyone.” 

Still, challenges remain for the three airports, including Newark.

The goal of the waiver was to reduce congestion attributed to staff shortages. Currently, despite increasing the number of air traffic controllers the FAA is hiring this year by 300 compared with 2023, “there are not enough certified controllers at the [New York Radar Approach Control facility],” according to an FAA statement. “To improve efficiency and ensure safety in this region, we plan for the Philadelphia Air Traffic Control Tower to take over the Newark airspace.”

The FAA said in March it would relocate the control of Newark by June 30, and that it would require 17 air traffic controllers to relocate, according to Reuters. 

Despite offering $100,000 awards and other incentives, not enough controllers volunteered to transfer, according to Reuters. Further, the FAA projects that the New York facility will not reach 70% of the targeted staffing level until the end of 2026, and the current 25% training success rate will not outpace attrition.

Source: Business Travel News

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