AOPA opposes unprecedented move to require VFR slots

July 31, 2008

AOPA is fighting an FAA proposal to include VFR operations in a planned slot reservation system at John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty International airports in the New York area, arguing that the plan unjustly punishes general aviation for the scheduling practices of the airlines and raises concerns for the future of any slot restriction programs.

In July 28 comments on the FAA’s proposal, AOPA points out that slot reservations are typically used only for IFR operations and that the agency has not done enough analysis or taken into account how offloading nearly 20,000 operations would affect surrounding New York-area airports. In addition, AOPA argues that the FAA has not justified the need for such restrictions when GA makes up less than 2 percent of operations at JFK and less than 4 percent at Newark. The proposed order also fails to account for how newly announced schedule reductions by the airlines will affect airport congestion.

“Flexibility and access must be retained for general aviation now in New York and in any other congested metropolitan airspace considered for slot restrictions,” said AOPA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Andy Cebula. “This proposal would severely constrain both without solving the underlying problem.”