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Technology: Can Caps Cut Delays?

Now that the federal government is taking action to deal with the chronic delays that characterize the New York City area’s air traffic — which accounts for one-third of America’s commercial flights — the big question is, will it actually help?

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Among the new measures announced by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters is the cap being placed on the number of flights at Newark Liberty and JFK airports. LaGuardia already has flight caps, as do a number of other congested airports, like O’Hare in Chicago and Reagan National in D.C. Peters is also pushing an airspace redesign program to smooth the stream of planes flying into and out of New York City’s clogged airports.

As correspondent Christopher Conkey reports in a Wall Street Journal story, “demand in New York [is] increasingly outstripping the air-traffic infrastructure’s capacity to handle it.”

Flight caps are a tradeoff for consumers. The feds hope that the airlines will be able to deliver more on-time flights during peak times, although the cost of flying during those peak hours will increase.

Meantime, with new access to metro airports limited to the incumbents, budget carriers are worried that it will become tougher to compete with the major airlines.

What do you think about flight caps?

Will caps reduce crowding, or just limit competition?

Airline Futurist • Miami • www.amadeus.com

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