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ATA Agrees With GAO on Slot Auctions, Supports Stabilization Plan

October 2, 2008 By: George Dooley


The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) said it applauded the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that affirms the airlines’ position that the Department of Transportation (DOT) lacks legal authority to conduct auctions on airplane slots at New York area airports.

"ATA and the airlines applaud the clear and decisive opinion rendered by the GAO, which affirms what we have said all along— that the DOT slot auction is unlawful," said ATA President and CEO James C. May. "We urge the FAA to put their focus and attention on increasing capacity and airspace redesign to make progress in actually reducing delays.” 

The ATA said the GAO’s unambiguous opinion that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not have the legal authority to auction slots was correct. In addition, GAO said that if FAA moves forward with the auction, it could be a violation of the Antideficiency Act and other statutory prohibitions. Several key transportation leaders in Congress requested this opinion.

The ATA also offered strong support for action to help stabilize Wall Street and Main Street and issued the following statement: “The market reaction to Monday’s defeat of legislation, intended to keep our nation’s critical credit markets moving, clearly sent a wake-up call that an economic plan needs to be implemented. We strongly support Congress acting in a bipartisan manner, passing comprehensive, balanced legislation. The consequences of inaction are unacceptable.”

In other moves, the ATA commented on President Bush signing into law two critical measures. This includes the Continuing Resolution (CR) that ends the administration’s plan to require air carriers to collect and transmit biometric information on foreign nationals upon departure from the U.S. ATA’s May said: “We are pleased that President Bush has signed this key law, which stops the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from placing a government function on the backs of the airlines."

The ATA also commented on the president’s signing of the FAA reauthorization bill, extending taxes and programs until March 2009. May said: “Airlines believe we need to move wisely toward a bill that modernizes the air traffic control system, reduces delays and ends the subsidy passengers are providing to private business jets. We call on Congress to pass sound, balanced legislation in the next Congress.”

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