New York’s LaGuardia airport is not a big place. At least, it’s not big enough to handle all the demand that’s out there.
You may remember a few years ago when the FAA decided to eliminate the slot restrictions at the airport. It led to an unprecedented overcapacity problem that had delays well over an hour even in the best of weather. That led to slots being reinstated so that no more than 75 flights per hour could be scheduled.
Now, the FAA still isn’t happy. They know there’s a ton of demand, yet airlines are squatting on slots by using regional jets for flights. There could be other airlines ready to fly larger planes, but once an airline owns a slot, it’s theirs to use as they like, as long as they do in fact use it.
So the latest idea is to use “operating authorizations,” or what I like to call Airline Steroids.
Basically, the FAA would hand out something like slots but if you fill them up with a bunch of regional jets, the FAA can take them away and give them to someone who is going to use bigger planes. The idea is that the bottleneck at LaGuardia isn’t the number of people you can fit in the terminals, it’s the number of planes you can fit on the runways. So, if you can increase the number of people on each plane, you’re able to better serve the demand that’s out there.
Look for this to happen at the beginning of next year if it happens at all.