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US To Include Foreign Airlines In JFK Schedules Discussion

Monday 16/10/2017 - Source: news airwise

Overseas airlines will join US carriers at an unusual meeting next month with American authorities about flight scheduling practices at delay plagued New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.

There had been speculation recently about whether foreign airlines would participate in the talks on October 23-24 that are aimed at reaching a voluntary agreement on scheduling for next spring and summer to reduce delays and congestion.

The meeting, a first for international carriers and only the second for domestic airlines after one for Chicago in 2014, will probably be in Washington, officials said. The Justice Department will oversee the talks led by the Transportation Department to ensure antitrust laws are followed.

British Airways, Japan Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Lufthansa and Air France KLM are some of the dozens of international airlines operating at JFK.

"The international airlines faced record delays this summer and keeping the status quo is not acceptable," said Steve Lott, a spokesman for the International Air Transport Association (IATA). "We think this is an appropriate first step."

More than a third of all JFK flights were delayed in August as airlines have ramped up operations this year to try to extend their modest financial recovery. Compounding the problem are limited runway and gate facilities and the limitations of the aging air traffic control system.

The Transportation Department is under orders from the White House to try and ease congestion in the overcrowded New York airspace, the busiest in the world. Delays at JFK, nearby LaGuardia and Newark airport in New Jersey impact flights across the country.

"Our first choice is to find market-based incentives to fix delays so we can preserve passenger choice, but we will consider imposing scheduling restrictions as one option to avoid a repeat of this summer's delays," Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said.

Airlines overall increased scheduled operations at JFK by 41 percent between March 2016 and August 2017, government figures show. There were 11,000 departures in August alone and authorities say international flights contribute to the problem. According to IATA, overseas carriers account for about a third of all JFK flights.

For the year through July, overseas flights at JFK were up 12 percent over the same period last year. Most foreign carriers individually fly only a handful of flights daily. But many of those flights compete with domestic airlines trying to move their customers in the morning and early evening.

Big domestic carriers at JFK are JetBlue Airways, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. Delta and American fly internationally from JFK.

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