No major changes for GA in N.Y. plan

December 20, 2007

GA Pilots beware

In light of the changes in New York, pilots may see jet aircraft outside of Class B airspace in certain areas. See the FAA’s letter to airmen.

Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters announced Dec. 19 changes to operations at New York’s three major airline airports that are intended to reduce congestion and passenger delays. AOPA was part of the advisory group that made suggestions to the government on how to improve airline operations in the New York area.

There will be no significant changes to operations to the general aviation airports around New York. And Secretary Peters did implicitly acknowledge AOPA’s contention that a major part of the problem is the airlines’ scheduling practices. The FAA is setting caps on the number of flights per hour into JFK and Newark Liberty International airports. “These limits will do much to end scheduling practices that try to squeeze in more flights an hour than runways can efficiently handle,” said Peters.

The FAA is also changing arrival and departure paths and altitudes for both New York and Philadelphia to create more options for airline traffic. And a new airspace “czar” will coordinate regional airspace issues and projects to deal with New York congestion.

“These changes prove that general aviation is not – and never was – a contributor to the airlines’ delay problems,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. “GA generally flies different routes and altitudes than the airlines in the New York airspace, and accounts for less than 3 percent of the operations at JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia airports. And when New York airspace is saturated, we take the same ground delays as the airlines.”

The FAA does plan to limit GA operations at JFK by using slot restrictions as was done in the past. AOPA will advocate for equitable treatment of all classes of airport users.