FAA extends slot waivers at New York-area airports

With no end in sight to a shortage of air traffic controllers in the Northeast, the FAA will continue to allow airlines to surrender 10% of their landing and departure slots at capacity-restricted Newark, LaGuardia and JFK airports through Oct. 27, 2024.

The agency’s decision came Friday, less than a month after it had extended a New York-area slot waiver through Oct. 28 of this year at the behest of airlines. 

The waiver means that airlines won’t be subject to losing those unused slots in future years. 

“A waiver of minimum slot usage requirements at JFK and [LaGuardia], and a similar policy of prioritizing returned operations at [Newark], is necessary to allow carriers to reduce operations to enable scheduling and operational stability,” the FAA wrote in its decision. 

The slot-usage relief also applies to airlines at capacity-constrained Washington Reagan National for reductions they make to service to the New York area.

In a statement, United Airlines, which dominates the Newark Airport, said the FAA decision reflects current operational realities in the New York City area.

“We’ve already trimmed our schedule by 10% — and our strategy of flying larger aircraft on these routes will keep the impact to customers to a minimum,” the carrier said. “We’re confident these moves will help provide a more reliable travel experience, and as we implement our plan to take delivery of hundreds of new planes in the years ahead, we look forward to returning to growth in the Northeast and continued partnership with the FAA and DOT.”

The FAA has met its fiscal year 2023 goal of hiring 1,500 air traffic controllers. But 2,600 controllers are in various stages of training and shortages persist around the country.

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