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FAA gets JFK talks off the ground

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Doug Krizner: Maybe your air travel has taken you to New York’s Kennedy airport recently. Likely, you were delayed. Kennedy is among the worst airports in the nation for delays — they’ve doubled in the past year.

Today, the FAA begins a two-day meetings with airlines to explore ways of fixing problem. Jeremy Hobson reports.


Jeremy Hobson: Airlines usually aren’t allowed to talk to each other directly to work out schedules because of anti-trust issues.
The government doesn’t want to cut flights unilaterally, out of fear that consumers will have to compete for fewer seats and prices will go up.

And airlines are hesitant to make voluntary cutbacks at JFK, says Seth Kaplan of Airline Weekly.

Seth Kaplan: Unlike a lot of other airports, you don’t have one or two airlines that really dominate the place.

So, he says, if one airline cuts a flight to ease delays, another could easily jump in to the open slot. If cuts are agreed on this week, they wouldn’t go into effect until next year.

But Kaplan says:

Kaplan: This is a short-term fix. It’s a necessary one, because the situation at Kennedy just can’t go on as it is. I mean, you just can’t have an airport where the plane pushes back from the gate and you can regularly expect to wait an hour to take off.

He says in the long-term, an upgraded radar system will help deal with increasing demand.

In Washington, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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