ACI-NA Opposes Delta/US Airways Slot Swap

As Delta Air Lines and US Airways seek a DOT waiver so they can shift and swap slots at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and New York LaGuardia Airport to maximize the efficiencies of their new routes, ACI-NA on Tuesday asked the department to stop the slot swap.

In its filing, ACI-NA noted that the airlines are trying to profit by swapping “community assets,” that the airports planned, designed, funded, built and currently operate.

 ACI-NA’s comments stressed that the DOT should not grant the waiver petition set forth in its notice as it fails to recognize the primary role of local airport proprietors in managing congestion at their airports and seeks unlawfully to impose restrictions on the proprietary rights of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to control their facilities.

 “ACI-NA has advocated that slots should be treated as community assets that are used to benefit the airport/community of their location, and not the airlines,” said ACI-NA President Greg Principato. “As such, the interests of the operating airport proprietor should be considered in evaluating the treatment of a petition by air carriers for the exchange of slots.” 

 Principato also noted that airport proprietors have been given adequate market alternatives to resolve capacity constraints under the DOT’s Amended Rates and Charges Policy.

 “It is especially important that such market alternatives not be distorted by a system that allows those most responsible for creating congestion problems to achieve even greater economic benefits by being given property rights in new slots that are created at the very airports which their flights caused to become congested,” emphasized Principato.

 “The airport proprietors are in the best position to manage the use of the facilities they planned, designed, funded, built and currently operate,” he concluded.