apparently pushing to virtually shut down JFK

Posted on 16. Mar, 2010 by in Blog, Featured

JFK International Airport
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The brain trust at is at it again. This time they are specifically targeting JFK International Airport. Led by the noted realtor and self proclaimed aviation expert Kate Hanni; they have put their full weight behind denying the airlines request for temporary relief from The Airline Passenger Bill of rights Act of 2009.

I predicted here, months ago, that the bill would lead to mass cancelations and ultimately hundreds of thousands, even millions of passengers being adversely affected, vice the 1/100th of a percent of flights stranded, that the bill was designed to prevent. Very few flights have had the long on ground delays this bill addresses. On the 22nd of December 2009 I predicted that future weather events would cause massive cancelations. On the 17th of February 2010 I showed an example. On the 9th of March 2010 the debate ended; the CEO of Continental Airlines in his own words:

Smisek said many passengers on delayed flights “really want to go to LA or Mumbai, but the government by God says, ‘We’re going to fine you $27,500.’ Here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to cancel the flight.”

Because airlines have cut flights, leaving the remaining ones more crowded, passengers will have fewer chances to rebook on another flight. Passengers, he said, won’t get to their destinations “for maybe days.”

The reality of the situation apparently has not yet reached; in fact they now seem hell-bent on making the situation worse. A mere 5 days after the CEO of Continental Airlines stated the above, strongly opposed an exception to 14 C.F.R. §§ 259.4(b)(1) and (b)(2).

The problem: JFK Airport is shutting down one of its major runways for construction. Thus knowing it will cause delays; Delta and JetBlue Airlines asked for relief until the construction is complete. A very reasonable request IMO, in light of the fact that the capacity of the airport will be greatly reduced., “representing the interests of airline passengers” responded:

“ strongly opposes DOT’s granting any exemption from this regulation to these or to any other airlines serving JFK.”


“The DOT Secretary should deny these airline requests out of hand and direct FAA Administrator Babbitt to meet promptly with the airlines and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, JFK’s operator, to require the airlines to realistically schedule airline operations correlated to available JFK runway capacity during this construction period.”

Translation; cancel flights (keep in mind load factors are at historical highs. Airlines especially during summer months are virtually at capacity); so much for that trip to Paris. BTW doesn’t “out of hand” mean without even examining the impact? That would be ironically apropos to this organization.

The following paragraphs are laughable, their total lack of insight and understanding of the industry is eye-watering to me. I suppose you don’t get much Air Transport training in realty school.

“Airline passengers should not have to endure multi-hour delays on JFK’s taxiways because the FAA refuses to manage “flow control” over the ground movements of aircraft scheduled for departure. has recommended for years that FAA’s air traffic controllers at congested airports like JFK should be required to prohibit airlines from pushing their aircraft back from the gate when an unreasonably long taxiway delay before takeoff is inevitable. FAA has resisted, not wanting to preclude the airlines from using those taxiways as passenger parking lots.

The exemption-requesting airlines have long known about the approaching need for the Bay Runway to be closed temporarily for reconstruction. They have had many months to develop alternative solutions that wouldn’t make passengers suffer long tarmac delays: e.g., scheduling larger capacity aircraft, and adjusting departure schedules. Instead, they now propose distorting a new DOT regulation that was designed to protect airline passengers during occasional “irregular operations” (such as weather) to insulate themselves from the consequences of their chronic, everyday overscheduling of flights.”

Let’s look at some of Kate’s fixes closely, first:

“ has recommended for years that FAA’s air traffic controllers at congested airports like JFK should be required to prohibit airlines from pushing their aircraft back from the gate when an unreasonably long taxiway delay before takeoff is inevitable.”

Again, evidence that (apparently) even a basic understanding of the industry is not present over at They must assume that every flight has its own gate, do the math. Flights have to come off the gate, because an arriving flight needs it to deplane. What is’s answer to that? Which group of passengers gets to sit; arriving or departing? The industry has its answer ready; in the face of fines they will cancel the departing unless they get regulatory relief. Continentals CEO could not have been clearer. Let’s keep in mind if the aircraft does not go over the pond; the flight back the next day is also cancelled. A two for one deal; think that happening day in day out until November will adversely affect tourism, the economy, not to mention the airlines based in JFK?

“scheduling larger capacity aircraft,”

The international flights into and out of JFK are already flying the largest aircraft available that the markets will support, Boeing 747, 777, 767 and 757’s; Airbus 380, 340 and 330’s as well. They only have so many, they’re kinda expensive and require crews and mechanics and baggage handlers and….well you get the picture.
Surely our intrepid realtor doesn’t mean the airlines need to fly a 777 from small town USA to JFK. Or is it a case of; the small market passengers don’t deserve to fly around the world by connecting in New York. Not to mention in the case of JetBlue (one of the named airlines) the A-320 (approx 150 seats) is the biggest aircraft they fly.

I could go on but this pains even me. This is the danger of the internet; a small minority representing a fraction of the airline passengers of the world is inflicting damage to the entire system. Construction, like bad weather, happens in this industry. Not every day, but when it does, it will impact the schedule. The airlines now will have no other choice than to cancel flights. Personally, I would rather wait 4 hours on the ramp or taxi way, rather than sit in a hotel for 2 or 3 days.

An old Admiral once told me; “Son, one person pissing down your leg is not a movement.” Sadly, that is no longer true in the age of the internet.

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One Response to “ apparently pushing to virtually shut down JFK”

  1. Shailesh 11 October 2015 at 05:53 #

    Think twice before fylnig Air Berlin. They might steal some items from your baggage. I was unlucky enough to board a flight AB 8121 on 08.11.11 from Zurich to Berlin. As a result, Air Berlin delayed my baggage for several days and, upon its recovery, I found that two souvenir Swiss Army knives were missing. Of course, they didn’t return or compensate the stolen items. They very reluctantly condescended to answer my emails. Well, it was a horrible experience. You diligently pay money for their services. In return, they delay your baggage, spoil your holiday and, as a crowning achievement, dispossess you of your belongings.

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