10:15 AM

As the Door Was
Hitting Her in the...

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey used a national stage during her "farewell address" at Washington, D.C.'s, Aero Club to blame the airlines directly for the massive and unacceptable delays commercial carriers are experiencing this year. ABCNews.com said it best:

It has been a summer of record delays, and the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration threw down the gauntlet to the nation's airlines Tuesday, warning them to take a hard look at their schedules, which she said "aren't worth the electrons they are printed on." Delays are particularly bad right now at the New York area airports. Blakey said to airlines that they need to make schedule adjustments there. "If airlines don't address this voluntarily," she said, "don't be surprised when the government steps in."
I find it very telling that FAA is completely shooting down the airline and ATA claims that the flood of business jets – especially all those little VLJs – will clog up our skies so badly that only fuel tax increases and user fees will save the system. As Blakey said Tuesday, it's their schedules to blame, and if the carriers think they'll continue to get a pass for publishing impossible schedules, here's proof to the contrary:
The main concern is at Newark and JFK airports, where Blakey later told ABC News, "at some times of the day there are schedules that can't physically be operated except under optimal circumstances, and we don't have many optimal days." She warned that the government could impose the type of solution they did at Chicago's O'Hare airport in 2004. The two main carriers there, United and American, had scheduled more flights an hour than the airport could handle -- and that was causing delays in Chicago and throughout the country. In November 2004 the FAA forced the two carriers to limit arrivals during peak hours. In the year following that move, delays dropped by 24 percent.
So now with FAA joining JetBlue, AOPA, NBAA and all of GA in blaming the airlines and not ATC or bizjets for this year's flight delays, maybe someone in Congress will see through ATA's smoke and mirrors to make the right decision and push H.R.2881 through to the Oval Office. Then, if the Current Resident of the White House has one tiny sliver of decency left in his weary, battle-scarred Presidency, he will sign that bill into law, keeping user fees off the table while funding FAA and NextGen.

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