Release #08.054
November 20, 2008

ALPA Condemns DOT Slot Auction Proposal
Proposal would harm U.S. airlines and pilots

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), issued the following statement condemning the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) proposed slot auction for New York airports.

“ALPA adamantly opposes the DOT’s proposal to confiscate 10% of the slots at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark airports from the airlines operating there and auction the slots to the highest bidder. The proposed auctions will not fix the underlying causes of congestion in the New York region—only better management of the region’s airspace will do that.

“The slot auctions would merely redistribute slots currently operated by U.S. carriers to other airlines, or force carriers to pay twice for the slots they are already using. They would severely undermine U.S. airlines’ ability to compete against foreign flag airlines at these airports because only government-backed foreign carriers would be able to afford the slots auctioned for peak arrival and departure times.

“Moreover, these misguided slot auctions would financially harm U.S. airlines at a time when they can least afford it. The U.S. airline industry is already under enormous financial strain. This DOT proposal seeks to strip assets from airlines that have invested billions of dollars in infrastructure to support flights from the New York region airports, driving up their costs, and potentially decreasing their revenue.

“The slot auctions could harm airline passengers and cargo shippers, too, by causing reductions in local New York area air service, as airlines that lose slots are forced to reduce domestic service in favor of international routes. Moreover, at a time when jobs are being slashed across the country, the DOT slot auction will likely mean even more job losses as U.S. airlines reduce service because of lost slots.

“The DOT has no legal authority to auction slots and Congress has repeatedly refused to give it such authority. ALPA calls on the DOT to heed the intense opposition expressed by U.S. airlines, U.S. airline workers, and aviation trade groups and withdraw this extremely harmful proposal.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada.

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Contacts: Linda Shotwell or Molly Martin, 703/481-4440 or