Release #08.DAL7
December 05, 2008

Delta Pilots Vigorously Oppose Slot Auction Proposal

ATLANTA, GA – Almost 12,500 Delta pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have invested significantly in Delta’s business plan for long-term growth with a focus on expansion of international flying, especially at JFK International Airport. This investment is now in jeopardy as the Department of Transportation continues with its ill-conceived gimmick to confiscate takeoff and landing slots of only U.S. carriers and then simply auction them away to the highest bidder.

Delta pilots strongly oppose the DOT/FAA plan, which would inequitably penalize Delta and other U.S. carriers serving the three major New York/New Jersey area airports for the benefit of foreign carriers and foreign jobs. The Delta pilots are actively involved in seeking legislation to ban this action, which will have a devastating impact on a critical American industry and American jobs at a time when the U.S. economy in recession can least afford it.

Under the proposal, the DOT would confiscate takeoff and landing slots of domestic airlines at JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty International airports each year for the next five years and then auction them off to the highest bidder – including to foreign operators. Even if U.S. carriers were able to buy back some of the slots they already own, in 10 years all slots would revert to the FAA, leaving carriers without any idea of their ability to operate their schedules or how to invest in the operations, facilities, aircraft, and employees necessary to compete at these airports. Originally proposed as a Bush administration solution to reduce congestion and delays and promote competition in the NY/NJ area, the plan will do anything but. The New York market is already the most competitive in the United States, with an average of 78 carriers serving the market and 80 percent load factors on U.S. carriers.

Congress and the Government Accountability Office have issued opinions that the DOT’s proposed actions are illegal and will likely violate the anti-deficiency statute, and the DOT Inspector General is currently investigating the same. However, the DOT has openly ignored this advice and defiantly stated that only a court ruling or an act of Congress will prevent it from implementing its scheme.

The Delta pilots support a constructive alternate plan for reducing congestion and protecting consumers that preserves jobs, allows for growth, and also protects Delta’s current and future investments in JFK and the region. The single most effective way to address delays at NYC airport is to accelerate implementation of the 77 short-term initiatives already identified by the New York Airspace Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) and the New York—New Jersey comprehensive airspace redesign to include a reprioritization of user access. To date, fewer than 10 of these initiatives have been implemented by the FAA.

Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. ALPA represents approximately 7,000 active DAL pilots and 5,100 active NWA pilots. Visit the ALPA website at, the Delta MEC website at

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SOURCE: Air Line Pilots Association
CONTACT: DAL ALPA, Kelly Regus, 404-763-4925 office