FAA warns three NY airports

August 26, 2008 12:34:29 PM PDT
The Federal Aviation Administration warned on Tuesday that New York's three big airports may violate federal regulations if they block flights from landing slots newly auctioned by the FAA. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty airports. Earlier this month it threatened to block flights resulting from a slot auction, and to block those planes from using terminal gates or other ground facilities.

The FAA issued a "notice of investigation" to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and asked them to respond within 30 days. The first auction is set for Sept. 3 for two slots at Newark. Flights in those slots could begin as early as Oct. 23.

The FAA said airports that receive federal grants are required to provide airlines with access to their facilities. It said if the Port Authority discourages open access to the airports, it may no longer be eligible for FAA grants or payments under existing grants. FAA said the three airports got $27 million in grants from the agency's Airport Improvement Program during fiscal 2008.

Also on Tuesday, the Port Authority asked to join an Air Transport Association lawsuit aimed at blocking the Sept. 3 auction. The airline trade group has said Congress never authorized the FAA to auction slots at the three airports.