Operating Limitations at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, Notice of Meeting and Request for Information, 59579-59583 [07-5177]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 203 / Monday, October 22, 2007 / Notices For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.11 Florence E. Harmon, Deputy Secretary. [FR Doc. E7–20784 Filed 10–19–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration [Docket No. FAA–2007–29320] Operating Limitations at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Notice of Meeting and Request for Information Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of scheduling reduction meeting and request for information. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The FAA will conduct a meeting to discuss flight restrictions at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to reduce overscheduling and flight delays during peak hours of operation at that airport. This meeting is open to all scheduled air carriers, regardless of whether they currently provide scheduled service to JFK, and to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is the airport operator of JFK. Registration in advance of the meeting is requested. In addition, the FAA invites interested persons to submit written information on such schedule reductions. The FAA plans to issue its decision on scheduling limitations in a final order. DATES: Scheduling reduction meeting. The FAA will hold the scheduling reduction meeting on October 23–24, 2007, beginning at 9 a.m., and the meeting may continue, if necessary, until adjourned by the Administrator. Written information: Any written information on the subject of schedule reductions at JFK, including data and views, must be submitted by November 6, 2007. To the extent possible, the FAA will consider late-filled submissions in making its determination in its final order. Scheduling reduction meeting. The meeting will be held in the Bessie Coleman Room at the Orville Wright Building of the FAA, 800 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC. Written information. You may submit written information, identified by docket number FAA–2007–29320, by any of the following methods: ebenthall on PRODPC61 with NOTICES ADDRESSES: 11 17 CFR 200.30–3(a)(75). VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:02 Oct 19, 2007 Jkt 214001 • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for submitting your information or comments electronically. • Fax: Fax comments to the Docket Management Facility at 1–202–493– 2251. • Mail: Send information or comments to the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: Bring information or comments to the Docket Management Facility in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at the Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. • Instructions: You must include the agency name and docket number FAA– 2007–29320 for this notice at the beginning of the information that you submit. Note that the information received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Submissions to the docket that include trade secrets, confidential, commercial, or financial information, or sensitive security information will not be posted in the public docket. Such information will be placed in a separate file to which the public does not have access, and a note will be placed in the public docket to state that the agency has received such materials from the submitter. Privacy: We will post all comments we receive, without change, including any personal information you provide. Using the search function of the docket Web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets, including the name of the individual sending or signing the comment. You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–78). Docket: To read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time and follow the online instructions for accessing the docket. Alternatively, you may visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor of the Department of Transportation at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Registration: To register for attendance, contact Gerry Shakley at the numbers provided in the FOR FURTHER PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 INFORMATION CONTACT 59579 section of this notice. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gerry Shakley, System Operations Services, Air Traffic Organization; telephone—(202) 267–9424; facsimile— (202) 267–7277; e-mail— gerry.shakly@faa.gov. Registration must occur on or before October 19, 2007. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Federal Aviation Act (the Act) at 49 U.S.C. 41722, authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to request air carriers to attend a meeting with the FAA Administrator to discuss flight schedule reductions at any severely congested airport during peak operating hours. Until relatively recently, the FAA managed congestion at JFK through the High Density Rule (HDR), 14 CFR part 93, subpart K, which limited aircraft operations at JFK during the five hours of peak transatlantic demands—3 p.m. through 7:59 p.m. local time. The HDR is an air traffic rule that establishes limited on the number of arrivals and departures that can occur from certain airports during specific, identified hours. The HDR limits flights in order to manage congestion and delays. Currently, only Washington’s Reagan National Airport is regulated under the HDR. The HDR was formerly effective at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (O’Hare), New York’s JFK New York’s LaGuardia airport (LaGuardia), and Newark’s Liberty International Airport (Newark). In 2000, Congress, under the aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR–21), called for the phase out of the HDR program at O’Hare, LaGuardia and JFK.1 The HDR was phased out at JFK as of January 1, 2007, permitting increased scheduling at JFK during the afternoon hours.2 In addition, since the spring of 2006, JFK has evolved from its traditionally international role, as U.S. air carriers have significantly increased their domestic scheduled operations throughout the day. Most of the increase has come from the two largest operators at the airport, Delta airlines and JetBlue Airways. As a result of the increase in scheduled operations at JFK, demand exceeds the airport’s capacity during some periods of the day. During the morning hours, JFK routinely incurs volume-related delays during the 7 a.m. through 9 a.m. hours. The afternoon and evening demand at JFK now exceeds the 1 Newark has not been impacted by the HDR since the early days of its inception. 2 Since the expiration of the HDR, the FAA reinstituted caps at O’Hare, by rule, and at LaGuardia, by FAA order. E:\FR\FM\22OCN1.SGM 22OCN1 ebenthall on PRODPC61 with NOTICES 59580 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 203 / Monday, October 22, 2007 / Notices airport’s optimal capacity until nearly 10 p.m., denying the airport a late-day period to recover from congestionrelated delays. Traffic management initiates to accommodate the traffic are now routinely in use, even under the best operating conditions. In addition, the relatively pronounced arrival and departure banks that historically characterized JFK’s operations are now supplanted by mixed arrivals and departures during peak hours. Although JFK has four runways, it is limited, at most, to a three-runway configuration due to the shared airspace in the New York area. JFK’s maximum efficiency is achieved using either two arrival runways and one departure runway or two departure runways and one arrival runway. The recent mixing of arrivals and departures throughout the day reduces the benefit of optimizing the configuration of active runways to favor arrivals or departures, as appropriate, which is a practice that air traffic control personnel previously employed to tailor JFK’s runway configuration to the historical transatlantic traffic flows. The increase in scheduled operations at JFK has had a profound effect on the delays that travelers have experienced there. During the first nine months of fiscal year 2007, the average daily operations at JFK increased 23% over the same period in the previous year. Travelers experienced an average twenty-six minutes of gate arrival delay per flight, which is an increase from the average eighteen-minute delay during the same period in fiscal year 2006. The number of arrival delays exceeding one hour has increased by 114%. The ontime arrival performance at JFK, which is defined as arrival at the gate within fifteen minutes of the scheduled time, declined from 70% in the first ten months of fiscal year 2006 to 61% over the same period in fiscal year 2007. During June and July 2007, JFK’s ontime arrival performance averaged 59%. At the same time, air carriers continued to announce new flights for JFK during peak and off-peak hours. The increased congestion and delays at JFK have had impacts on other airports in the region and on the National Airspace System. Newark, LaGuardia and JFK have consistently been among the most delay-prone airports. While operations at LaGuardia and Newark have been relatively stable over the past year, JFK’s operations have increased significantly, creating new challenges to accommodate demand safely and with minimal delay. The recently approved airspace redesign plan for the New York/New Jersey/ Philadelphia metropolitan area VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:02 Oct 19, 2007 Jkt 214001 documents well the costs and farreaching impacts of delays that originate from this area. Although airspace redesign will provide efficiency gains and congestion relief, it is neither an immediate nor complete solution. The FAA, working with the airport operator, carriers and other customer representatives, has begun to implement a number of short-term initiatives to improve the efficiency of airport operations and the air traffic control system, especially during periods of adverse weather when the effects of overscheduling are more pronounced. Moreover, airspace redesign will open additional arrival and departure routes in the New York area to reduce delays and congestion. These measures alone, however, are not expected to provide sufficient near-term gains to accommodate the peak hour schedules at JFK’s current or forecast levels of demand. Several air carriers have indicated to the FAA their willingness to adjust their schedules during peak hours to improve on-time performance, reduce congestion, and reduce delay-related operational costs. These carriers cite the experience at O’Hare in 2004 when the FAA had a voluntary agreement to twice reduce schedules by American Airlines and United Airlines, the largest operators at that airport, but ultimately convened a scheduling reduction meeting under 49 U.S.C. 41722 so that other carriers did not simply backfill schedule reductions and negate congestion relief. The FAA finds merit in these arguments as we did in the case of O’Hare. Based on these and other factors, the Administrator has determined, pursuant to the Act, that JFK is a severely congested airport and that a scheduling reduction meeting is necessary in order to discuss flight reductions in an effort to reduce overscheduling and flight delays at JFK during peak operating hours. The Secretary of Transportation has also determined, pursuant to the Act, that a scheduling reduction meeting regarding flight reductions at JFK is necessary to meet a serious transportation need or to achieve an important public benefit. In light of these determinations, the FAA will conduct a scheduling reduction meeting pursuant to the Act. As dictated by statute, the scheduling reduction meeting will only address planned operations by domestic air carriers. With the exception of Canadian air carriers, which are treated as domestic air carriers by virtue of an agreement with Canada, the scheduled operations of foreign air carriers are managed under a process defined by the PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 International Air Transport Association (IATA). The FAA has already initiated steps under the IATA process to manage the scheduled operations of foreign air carriers at JFK that are complementary to the scheduling reduction meeting. The FAA will convene the scheduling reduction meeting on October 23, 2007, beginning at 9 a.m., and will continue at least through the following day. The meeting may continue, if necessary, until adjourned by the Administrator. As provided in the Act, no later than forty-eight hours before convening the meeting, the FAA will identify on the FAA’s Web site, http://www.faa.gov, the peak period of operation at JFK and the FAA’s targets for flight operations during those periods. The FAA will transcribe the scheduling reduction meeting, including those sessions in which air carriers offer flight reductions to the FAA, as provided for by the procedures outlined below. The transcript and other documents related to the meeting will be available for inspection in Department of Transportation Docket FAA–2007–29320. In addition, any interested person may submit written information to the public docket no later than November 6, 2007. The docket may be accessed via the Internet at http:// www.regulations.gov or at the Docket Management Facility for the Department of Transportation. After conducting the scheduling reduction meeting and considering all submitted information, the FAA will publish its final order on delay reductions at JFK in the Federal Register. The order is expected to be effective through at least the summer 2008 scheduling season and may restrict service during peak hours by all carriers, including carriers that are not currently operating at JFK. Additionally, the FAA is considering appropriate measures to address charters and other unscheduled flights at JFK. Under the HDR, unscheduled operations were severely constrained during the afternoon hours at JFK. Specifically, only two unscheduled operations were permitted in each afternoon hour other than the 1700 hour (5 p.m.), when no unscheduled operations were permitted. Likewise, unscheduled operations at O’Hare have been restricted to four per hour since the imposition of Arrival Authorizations at that airport in 2004. To ensure that proper accommodations are afforded at the meeting, all scheduled carriers that wish to attend the scheduling reduction meeting should register for the meeting on or before October 19, 2007. Registration may be accomplished by E:\FR\FM\22OCN1.SGM 22OCN1 ebenthall on PRODPC61 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 203 / Monday, October 22, 2007 / Notices contacting Gerry Shakley, System Operations Services, Air Traffic Organization; telephone—(202) 267– 9424; facsimile—(202) 267–7277; e-mail—gerry.shakley@faa.gov, identifying the air carrier and its intention to attend the meeting, and identifying who will represent the air carrier at the meeting. The FAA is currently conducting modeling based on the August 30, 2007 published schedule information from the Official Airline Guide. We will review the planned schedules for summer 2008, which carriers were to provide by October 11, 2007 (72 FR 54317, September 24, 2007). The FAA’s Air Traffic Organization will work with individual carriers to validate the schedule information to be used by the FAA during the course of the scheduling reduction meeting. Because the scheduling reduction meeting and all preparations for it are subject to the U.S. antitrust laws, the FAA has worked closely with the Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, on procedures for conducting the meeting in a way that should facilitate legal compliance. As noted in this correspondence, communications among carriers regarding competitively sensitive information could result in a violation of the antitrust laws and lead to civil or criminal liability. Thus, the procedures outlined in the notice provide for a series of scheduling reduction sessions to be conducted separately by FAA staff with each air carrier attending the meeting. We may also meet with representatives of the airport operator. During those sessions any scheduled air carrier or the airport operator in attendance may provide other supplemental information to the FAA regarding the targeted schedule reductions at JFK. The FAA requests the cooperation of all participants at the meeting in adhering to the procedures outlined in the notice. The text of the FAA letter describing the planned procedures and the text of the Department of Justice letter assessing those procedures are as follows: September 21, 2007 Thomas O. Barnett, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, Room 3109, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20530-0001. Dear Mr. Barnett: We anticipate that the Secretary of Transportation will soon determine, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 41722,3 that it is 3 [The text of a footnote quoting 49 U.S.C. 41722 is omitted her.] VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:02 Oct 19, 2007 Jkt 214001 necessary to convene a meeting of air carriers with the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to discuss flight reductions at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in an effort to reduce overscheduling and flight delays during peak hours of operation. Because of severe congestion at that airport and the resulting delays and inconveniences to the traveling public, the Administrator intends to convene such a meeting in the immediate future. The purpose of this letter is to describe the format and procedures for the meeting and to ensure that, provided the meeting is conducted in accordance with this letter, the Department of Justice would not seek to challenge as a violation of the U.S. Antitrust laws any air carrier’s attendance at or participation in the meeting or an air carrier’s unilateral actions taken to comply with an Order of the Administrator issued as a result of the meeting. Meeting Procedures 1. Notice to Air Carriers and Other Interested Parties To assist the Administrator in formulating flight reduction targets, as contemplated by 49 U.S.C. 41722, and to identify the air carriers that will attend the meeting, the Administrator will send a letter notifying the JFK airport operator and each scheduled air carrier serving JFK of the meeting. The letter will describe the necessity for the meeting and will identify the periods during a representative business day that the Administrator considers severely congested. The letter also will establish either the date and time for the meeting or a period during which the meeting is expected to take place. It will designate a location in the Washington, DC area as the meeting’s location. The letter will advise that the meeting and all preparations for it are subject to the antitrust laws and that communication among air carriers regarding competitively sensitive information, such as markets served, prices charged, and marketing plans, could result in a violation of the antitrust laws. Copies of the letter will be sent to the Antitrust Division, as well as to the Air Transport Association, Regional Airline Association, and Air Carrier Association of America. The FAA Air Traffic Organization (ATO) will separately provide the JFK airport operator and each air carrier serving JFK with a summary showing the FAA’s current information as to scheduled arrivals and departures at JFK (including code-share flights) for each air carrier during each 15 minute period PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 59581 from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on a representative business day. The FAA’s focus on these hours is for overall planning purposes only, and it does not necessarily reflect the peak hours of operation at JFK. A letter enclosed with this summary will request that each air carrier confirm the FAA’s current information as to that air carrier’s scheduled operations at JFK, respond as to whether the air carrier will attend the scheduling reduction meeting, and, if the air carrier will attend, identify its representative. The FAA also will publish in the Federal Register a notice of the meeting that identifies the basis for the meeting, when and where the meeting will take place, and the manner in which the meeting will be conducted. The Federal Register notice will invite all scheduled air carriers to attend and will specify that a transcript of the meeting will be available for inspection in a public docket opened within three business days after the Administrator formally adjourns the scheduling reduction meeting. 2. Establishment and Notice of Flight Reduction Targets The Administrator shall establish flight reduction targets, based on the number of flight operations scheduled for a representative business day. As required by the statute, at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, the Administrator will publish notice of these targets on the FAA’s Web site. The notice will specify the total number of reductions sought from the total number of flight operations conducted. The notice will not include carrier-specific limitations, targets, or suggested reductions. 3. Conduct of the Meeting The meeting will be conducted under the following procedures: a. The meeting will be chaired by the Administrator or by a delegate of the Administrator. b. The meeting will be open to attendance by the JFK airport operator and all scheduled air carriers, and the FAA will transcribe the meeting. c. Representatives of the Department of Justice will be invited to attend. d. At the beginning of the meeting, the FAA will announce that, pursuant to advice from the Department of Justice, no communication will be permitted by any air carrier representative in the presence of any representative of another air carrier regarding the subject of flight reductions at JFK or regarding any other competitively sensitive information, including but not limited to markets served, prices charged, and marketing plans. E:\FR\FM\22OCN1.SGM 22OCN1 ebenthall on PRODPC61 with NOTICES 59582 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 203 / Monday, October 22, 2007 / Notices e. The Administrator will then distribute to the meeting’s attendees a list of the number of flights, not specific as to air carrier, during each 15-minute period from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. on a representative business day, and he will identify any periods that he considers severely congested, as well as general targets for flight reductions during those periods. This list will not include carrier-specific limitations, targets, or suggested reductions. f. Each air carrier serving JFK and attending the meeting will then be invited into a separate and confidential session with representatives of the ATO, at which the air carrier will be asked to offer flight reductions or schedule modifications. Only representatives of that air carrier and the U.S. government will be permitted to attend the offer sessions; however, the sessions will be transcribed. g. Any offer of flights reductions should specify the precise number of arrivals and departures, if any, the submitting air carrier is willing to remove from each of the severely congested periods identified by the Administrator, indicating whether the flight operation(s) would be cancelled or moved to another time period. The offer may not be explicitly contingent on specific flight reductions by other air carriers but may be conditioned on the Administrator’s implementation of an overall reduction of specified numbers of flight operations toward the target during the periods in question. The offer may not contain information from the air carrier on markets served, prices charged, marketing plans or other competitively sensitive matters. h. After the completion of all such sessions, the ATO will: (1) Review the offers made; (2) revise, in light of the offers made, the list of the number of flights, not specific as to air carrier, during each 15-minute period from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. on a representative business day; and (3) consult with the Administrator. The Administrator will distribute to the meeting’s attendees the carrier non-specific list of the number of flights on a representative business day, and he will identify any periods that he continues to consider severely congested and identify targets for flight reductions during those periods. i. At his discretion, the Administrator or his delegate may repeat steps (f) through (h), and he may continue the schedule reduction meeting as he deems necessary. j. If the Administrator determines that identifying carrier-specific targets would facilitate voluntary flight reductions and schedule modifications, the Administrator may advise each air VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:02 Oct 19, 2007 Jkt 214001 carrier separately and confidentially of flight reduction targets specific to that air carrier. No carrier-specific information will be provided to any air carrier other than information regarding that air carrier; however, the Administrator may make general assurances with respect to the overall proportionality of the flight reductions among the air carriers serving JFK. k. Following the Administrator’s identification of further flight reduction targets, each air carrier attending the meeting that serves JFK will be invited to a separate and confidential session with representatives of the ATO, at which the air carrier will be given the opportunity to submit a new or revised offer of flight reductions or schedule modifications. l. At his discretion, the Administrator or his delegate may repeat steps (j) and (k), and he may continue the schedule reduction meeting as he deems necessary. m. The Administrator may terminate the schedule reduction meeting at his discretion. 4. Order of the Administrator Concerning Delays at JFK The ATO will review the final offers of each air carrier attendee of the meeting and recommend a proposed flight reduction plan to the Administrator. After the Administrator’s review and approval of the plan, the resulting schedule reductions, including carrier-specific limitations, will be published in the Federal Register as a final order of the Administrator. The final order of the Administrator will specify a method by which air carriers adversely affected by the order may be relieved of its effect. The order will also be subject to modification by the Administrator. Please advise if the procedures are acceptable to you. Sincerely, Kerry B. Long, Chief Counsel September 24, 2007 Kerry B. Long, Esq., Chief Counsel, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Ave, SW., Washington, DC 20591. Re: Proposed JFK Airport Delay Reduction Meeting Dear Mr. Long: This letter is written in response to your September 21, 2007 letter describing the planned format of a meeting of air carriers with the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (‘‘FAA’’) to discuss flight reductions at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (‘‘JFK’’). PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The meeting is being called because the Secretary of Transportation has determined, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 41722, that the meeting is necessary to reduce flight delays during peak hours of operation. You seek assurances that, provided the meeting and related activities are conducted as described in your letter, the Department of Justice would not seek to challenge as a violation of the antitrust laws any air carrier’s attendance at or participation in the meeting or any carrier’s unilateral actions taken to comply with an Order of the Administrator issued as a result of the meeting. According to your letter, all carriers participating in the meeting will be advised that the meeting and all preparations for it are subject to the antitrust laws and that communications among carriers regarding competitively sensitive information, such as markets served, prices charged, and marketing plans, could result in a violation of the antitrust laws and lead to civil or criminal liability. At the beginning of the meeting, the Administrator (or his delegee) will announce that, pursuant to advice from the Department of Justice, no communication will be permitted by any air carrier representative in the presence of any representative of another air carrier regarding flight reductions at JFK or any other competitively sensitive subject, including but not limited to markets served, prices charged, and marketing plans. Prior to the meeting, the Administrator will establish flight reduction targets, based on the number of flight operations scheduled on a representative business day. The Administrator will publish notice of these targets on the FAA Web site at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, as required by statute. The notice will specify the total number of reductions to be sought from the total number of flight operations conducted. The notice will not include carrier-specific limitations, targets or suggested reductions. At the meeting, the Administrator will distribute a list of flights currently scheduled each 15-minute period from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., indicate any periods that he considers to be severely congested, and provide general targets for flight reductions during those periods, which will not identify which carriers flights are targeted to be moved or eliminated. Each carrier will then be invited into a separate, confidential discussion with the Administrator during which the carrier will be asked to offer specific flight reductions or scheduled, changes, which shall not be E:\FR\FM\22OCN1.SGM 22OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 203 / Monday, October 22, 2007 / Notices contingent on reductions offered by another carrier or carriers. After completion of the individual carrier sessions, the Administrator will revise the list of flights to reflect the individual discussions with the carriers. The carriers will again be given this list which will not identify flights by carrier. If the Administrator believes that severely congested time periods still exist, he may set revised targets and repeat the individual sessions with carriers. If the Administrator determines that identifying carrier-specific targets is necessary to facilitate voluntary flight reductions and schedule modifications, he may advise each carrier separately and confidentially of flight reduction targets specific to that carrier, which information will not be given to any other carrier or carriers. The Administrator may also make a general assurance with respect to the overall proportionality of the flight reductions being sought by the FAA from carriers serving JFK. The Administrator will develop and approve a proposed flight reduction plan and schedule reduction, which will be published in the Federal Register as a final order. Importantly, the procedures do not provide for any meetings among the carriers without the FAA present. The procedures will not allow any discussion or negotiation among carriers about flight reductions, prices charged, or markets served. During the course of the meetings, carriers will not be told schedule reductions or modifications other carriers are offering or being asked to offer. For these reasons, the Department is not presently inclined to initiate antitrust enforcement action against any carrier that participates in the FAA’s flight reduction meeting and conducts itself in the manner described in your September 21 letter. This expresses the Department’s current enforcement intention regarding the carriers’ participation in the flight reductions meeting. The Department reserves the right to bring an enforcement action against any conduct that violated the antitrust laws. Yours sincerely, ebenthall on PRODPC61 with NOTICES Thomas O. Barnett Issued in Washington, DC, on October 16, 2007. Kerry B. Long, Chief Counsel. [FR Doc. 07–5177 Filed 10–16–07; 4:31 pm] BILLING CODE 4910–13–M VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:02 Oct 19, 2007 Jkt 214001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Highway Administration Environmental Impact Statement: Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties, Maryland Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of intent. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The FHWA is issuing this notice to advise the public that an Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared for a proposed roadway widening and bridge replacement project in Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties, Maryland. The purpose of the EIS is to provide information and analyses for decisions on the project in accordance with the policies and purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Daniel W. Johnson, Environmental Program Manager, Federal Highway Administration, City Crescent Building, 10 South Howard Street, Suite 2450, Telephone (410) 779–7154. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FHWA, in cooperation with the Maryland State Highway Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, and Maryland Department of the Environment will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to improve MD 4 from MD 2 to MD 235 in Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties, a distance of approximately 2.91 miles. Improvements to the corridor are necessary to improve existing capacity and traffic operations, and to increase vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle safety along MD 4, while supporting existing and planned development in the area. Improvements to the bridge are necessary due to inadequate shoulder widths, major traffic delays and/or closures currently occur along the Thomas Johnson Memorial Bridge during crashes and maintenance activities. In addition, the crash rate on MD 4 from FDR Boulevard to MD 235, as well as the rear end collision rate across the Thomas Johnson Memorial Bridge, is greater than the statewide average. Alternatives under consideration include taking no action and widening existing MD 4 to a four lane divided highway, with various options for bridge improvements and/or reconstruction. Letters describing the proposed action and soliciting comments will be sent to appropriate Federal, State, and local PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 59583 agencies, and to private organizations and citizens and citizen groups who have previously expressed or are known to have an interest in this proposal. It is anticipated that a Public Hearing will be held in the Fall of 2009. The draft EIS will be available for public and agency review and comment prior to a Public Hearing. Public notice will be given of the availability of the Draft EIS for review and of the time and place of this hearing. A Scoping Meeting was held in May of 2007, and two Open House Workshops will be held in October 2007 to solicit opinions and ideas on proposed improvements from local citizens. To ensure that the full range of issues related to this proposed action are addressed and all significant issues identified, comments and suggestions are invited from all interested parties. Comments or questions concerning these proposed actions and EIS should be directed to the FHWA at the address provided above. (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, Highway Research, Planning and Construction. The regulation implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation of Federal programs and activities apply to this program) Issued on: October 10, 2007. Daniel W. Johnson, Environmental Program Leader, Baltimore, Maryland. [FR Doc. 07–5190 Filed 10–19–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–22–M DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Highway Administration Notice of Final Federal Agency Actions on Proposed Highways in Washington Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of limitation on claims for judicial review of actions by FHWA and other federal agencies. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This notice announces actions taken by the FHWA and other Federal agencies that are final within the meaning of 23 U.S.C. 139(l)(1). The actions relate to a proposed highway project, SR 167 Extension Project Puyallup to SR 509 in Pierce County, Washington. Those actions grant licenses, permits, and approvals for the project. DATES: By this notice, the FHWA is advising the public of final agency actions subject to 23 U.S.C. 139(l)(1). A claim seeking judicial review of the Federal agency actions on the highway E:\FR\FM\22OCN1.SGM 22OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 203 (Monday, October 22, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 59579-59583]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 07-5177]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

[Docket No. FAA-2007-29320]


Operating Limitations at New York's John F. Kennedy International 
Airport, Notice of Meeting and Request for Information

AGENCY:  Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:  Notice of scheduling reduction meeting and request for 
information.

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SUMMARY:  The FAA will conduct a meeting to discuss flight restrictions 
at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to reduce 
overscheduling and flight delays during peak hours of operation at that 
airport. This meeting is open to all scheduled air carriers, regardless 
of whether they currently provide scheduled service to JFK, and to the 
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is the airport 
operator of JFK. Registration in advance of the meeting is requested. 
In addition, the FAA invites interested persons to submit written 
information on such schedule reductions. The FAA plans to issue its 
decision on scheduling limitations in a final order.

DATES:  Scheduling reduction meeting. The FAA will hold the scheduling 
reduction meeting on October 23-24, 2007, beginning at 9 a.m., and the 
meeting may continue, if necessary, until adjourned by the 
Administrator.
    Written information: Any written information on the subject of 
schedule reductions at JFK, including data and views, must be submitted 
by November 6, 2007. To the extent possible, the FAA will consider 
late-filled submissions in making its determination in its final order.

ADDRESSES:  Scheduling reduction meeting. The meeting will be held in 
the Bessie Coleman Room at the Orville Wright Building of the FAA, 800 
Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC.
    Written information. You may submit written information, identified 
by docket number FAA-2007-29320, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://
www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for submitting your 
information or comments electronically.
     Fax: Fax comments to the Docket Management Facility at 1-
202-493-2251.
     Mail: Send information or comments to the Docket 
Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue, SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 
20590.
     Hand Delivery: Bring information or comments to the Docket 
Management Facility in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor 
at the Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
     Instructions: You must include the agency name and docket 
number FAA-2007-29320 for this notice at the beginning of the 
information that you submit. Note that the information received will be 
posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any 
personal information provided. Submissions to the docket that include 
trade secrets, confidential, commercial, or financial information, or 
sensitive security information will not be posted in the public docket. 
Such information will be placed in a separate file to which the public 
does not have access, and a note will be placed in the public docket to 
state that the agency has received such materials from the submitter.
    Privacy: We will post all comments we receive, without change, 
including any personal information you provide. Using the search 
function of the docket Web site, anyone can find and read the 
electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets, 
including the name of the individual sending or signing the comment. 
You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal 
Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78).
    Docket: To read background documents or comments received, go to 
http://www.regulations.gov at any time and follow the online 
instructions for accessing the docket. Alternatively, you may visit the 
Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground 
Floor of the Department of Transportation at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, 
SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
    Registration: To register for attendance, contact Gerry Shakley at 
the numbers provided in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gerry Shakley, System Operations 
Services, Air Traffic Organization; telephone--(202) 267-9424; 
facsimile--(202) 267-7277; e-mail_gerry.shakly@faa.gov. Registration 
must occur on or before October 19, 2007.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Federal Aviation Act (the Act) at 49 
U.S.C. 41722, authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to request air 
carriers to attend a meeting with the FAA Administrator to discuss 
flight schedule reductions at any severely congested airport during 
peak operating hours.
    Until relatively recently, the FAA managed congestion at JFK 
through the High Density Rule (HDR), 14 CFR part 93, subpart K, which 
limited aircraft operations at JFK during the five hours of peak 
transatlantic demands--3 p.m. through 7:59 p.m. local time.
    The HDR is an air traffic rule that establishes limited on the 
number of arrivals and departures that can occur from certain airports 
during specific, identified hours. The HDR limits flights in order to 
manage congestion and delays. Currently, only Washington's Reagan 
National Airport is regulated under the HDR. The HDR was formerly 
effective at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (O'Hare), New York's 
JFK New York's LaGuardia airport (LaGuardia), and Newark's Liberty 
International Airport (Newark).
    In 2000, Congress, under the aviation Investment and Reform Act for 
the 21st Century (AIR-21), called for the phase out of the HDR program 
at O'Hare, LaGuardia and JFK.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Newark has not been impacted by the HDR since the early days 
of its inception.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The HDR was phased out at JFK as of January 1, 2007, permitting 
increased scheduling at JFK during the afternoon hours.\2\ In addition, 
since the spring of 2006, JFK has evolved from its traditionally 
international role, as U.S. air carriers have significantly increased 
their domestic scheduled operations throughout the day. Most of the 
increase has come from the two largest operators at the airport, Delta 
airlines and JetBlue Airways.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Since the expiration of the HDR, the FAA reinstituted caps 
at O'Hare, by rule, and at LaGuardia, by FAA order.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As a result of the increase in scheduled operations at JFK, demand 
exceeds the airport's capacity during some periods of the day. During 
the morning hours, JFK routinely incurs volume-related delays during 
the 7 a.m. through 9 a.m. hours. The afternoon and evening demand at 
JFK now exceeds the

[[Page 59580]]

airport's optimal capacity until nearly 10 p.m., denying the airport a 
late-day period to recover from congestion-related delays. Traffic 
management initiates to accommodate the traffic are now routinely in 
use, even under the best operating conditions.
    In addition, the relatively pronounced arrival and departure banks 
that historically characterized JFK's operations are now supplanted by 
mixed arrivals and departures during peak hours. Although JFK has four 
runways, it is limited, at most, to a three-runway configuration due to 
the shared airspace in the New York area. JFK's maximum efficiency is 
achieved using either two arrival runways and one departure runway or 
two departure runways and one arrival runway. The recent mixing of 
arrivals and departures throughout the day reduces the benefit of 
optimizing the configuration of active runways to favor arrivals or 
departures, as appropriate, which is a practice that air traffic 
control personnel previously employed to tailor JFK's runway 
configuration to the historical transatlantic traffic flows.
    The increase in scheduled operations at JFK has had a profound 
effect on the delays that travelers have experienced there. During the 
first nine months of fiscal year 2007, the average daily operations at 
JFK increased 23% over the same period in the previous year. Travelers 
experienced an average twenty-six minutes of gate arrival delay per 
flight, which is an increase from the average eighteen-minute delay 
during the same period in fiscal year 2006. The number of arrival 
delays exceeding one hour has increased by 114%. The on-time arrival 
performance at JFK, which is defined as arrival at the gate within 
fifteen minutes of the scheduled time, declined from 70% in the first 
ten months of fiscal year 2006 to 61% over the same period in fiscal 
year 2007. During June and July 2007, JFK's on-time arrival performance 
averaged 59%. At the same time, air carriers continued to announce new 
flights for JFK during peak and off-peak hours.
    The increased congestion and delays at JFK have had impacts on 
other airports in the region and on the National Airspace System. 
Newark, LaGuardia and JFK have consistently been among the most delay-
prone airports. While operations at LaGuardia and Newark have been 
relatively stable over the past year, JFK's operations have increased 
significantly, creating new challenges to accommodate demand safely and 
with minimal delay. The recently approved airspace redesign plan for 
the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia metropolitan area documents well 
the costs and far-reaching impacts of delays that originate from this 
area. Although airspace redesign will provide efficiency gains and 
congestion relief, it is neither an immediate nor complete solution.
    The FAA, working with the airport operator, carriers and other 
customer representatives, has begun to implement a number of short-term 
initiatives to improve the efficiency of airport operations and the air 
traffic control system, especially during periods of adverse weather 
when the effects of overscheduling are more pronounced. Moreover, 
airspace redesign will open additional arrival and departure routes in 
the New York area to reduce delays and congestion. These measures 
alone, however, are not expected to provide sufficient near-term gains 
to accommodate the peak hour schedules at JFK's current or forecast 
levels of demand.
    Several air carriers have indicated to the FAA their willingness to 
adjust their schedules during peak hours to improve on-time 
performance, reduce congestion, and reduce delay-related operational 
costs. These carriers cite the experience at O'Hare in 2004 when the 
FAA had a voluntary agreement to twice reduce schedules by American 
Airlines and United Airlines, the largest operators at that airport, 
but ultimately convened a scheduling reduction meeting under 49 U.S.C. 
41722 so that other carriers did not simply backfill schedule 
reductions and negate congestion relief. The FAA finds merit in these 
arguments as we did in the case of O'Hare.
    Based on these and other factors, the Administrator has determined, 
pursuant to the Act, that JFK is a severely congested airport and that 
a scheduling reduction meeting is necessary in order to discuss flight 
reductions in an effort to reduce overscheduling and flight delays at 
JFK during peak operating hours. The Secretary of Transportation has 
also determined, pursuant to the Act, that a scheduling reduction 
meeting regarding flight reductions at JFK is necessary to meet a 
serious transportation need or to achieve an important public benefit. 
In light of these determinations, the FAA will conduct a scheduling 
reduction meeting pursuant to the Act.
    As dictated by statute, the scheduling reduction meeting will only 
address planned operations by domestic air carriers. With the exception 
of Canadian air carriers, which are treated as domestic air carriers by 
virtue of an agreement with Canada, the scheduled operations of foreign 
air carriers are managed under a process defined by the International 
Air Transport Association (IATA). The FAA has already initiated steps 
under the IATA process to manage the scheduled operations of foreign 
air carriers at JFK that are complementary to the scheduling reduction 
meeting.
    The FAA will convene the scheduling reduction meeting on October 
23, 2007, beginning at 9 a.m., and will continue at least through the 
following day. The meeting may continue, if necessary, until adjourned 
by the Administrator. As provided in the Act, no later than forty-eight 
hours before convening the meeting, the FAA will identify on the FAA's 
Web site, http://www.faa.gov, the peak period of operation at JFK and 
the FAA's targets for flight operations during those periods.
    The FAA will transcribe the scheduling reduction meeting, including 
those sessions in which air carriers offer flight reductions to the 
FAA, as provided for by the procedures outlined below. The transcript 
and other documents related to the meeting will be available for 
inspection in Department of Transportation Docket FAA-2007-29320. In 
addition, any interested person may submit written information to the 
public docket no later than November 6, 2007. The docket may be 
accessed via the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or at the 
Docket Management Facility for the Department of Transportation.
    After conducting the scheduling reduction meeting and considering 
all submitted information, the FAA will publish its final order on 
delay reductions at JFK in the Federal Register. The order is expected 
to be effective through at least the summer 2008 scheduling season and 
may restrict service during peak hours by all carriers, including 
carriers that are not currently operating at JFK.
    Additionally, the FAA is considering appropriate measures to 
address charters and other unscheduled flights at JFK. Under the HDR, 
unscheduled operations were severely constrained during the afternoon 
hours at JFK. Specifically, only two unscheduled operations were 
permitted in each afternoon hour other than the 1700 hour (5 p.m.), 
when no unscheduled operations were permitted. Likewise, unscheduled 
operations at O'Hare have been restricted to four per hour since the 
imposition of Arrival Authorizations at that airport in 2004.
    To ensure that proper accommodations are afforded at the meeting, 
all scheduled carriers that wish to attend the scheduling reduction 
meeting should register for the meeting on or before October 19, 2007. 
Registration may be accomplished by

[[Page 59581]]

contacting Gerry Shakley, System Operations Services, Air Traffic 
Organization; telephone--(202) 267-9424; facsimile--(202) 267-7277; e-
mail_gerry.shakley@faa.gov, identifying the air carrier and its 
intention to attend the meeting, and identifying who will represent the 
air carrier at the meeting.
    The FAA is currently conducting modeling based on the August 30, 
2007 published schedule information from the Official Airline Guide. We 
will review the planned schedules for summer 2008, which carriers were 
to provide by October 11, 2007 (72 FR 54317, September 24, 2007). The 
FAA's Air Traffic Organization will work with individual carriers to 
validate the schedule information to be used by the FAA during the 
course of the scheduling reduction meeting.
    Because the scheduling reduction meeting and all preparations for 
it are subject to the U.S. antitrust laws, the FAA has worked closely 
with the Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, on procedures for 
conducting the meeting in a way that should facilitate legal 
compliance. As noted in this correspondence, communications among 
carriers regarding competitively sensitive information could result in 
a violation of the antitrust laws and lead to civil or criminal 
liability. Thus, the procedures outlined in the notice provide for a 
series of scheduling reduction sessions to be conducted separately by 
FAA staff with each air carrier attending the meeting. We may also meet 
with representatives of the airport operator. During those sessions any 
scheduled air carrier or the airport operator in attendance may provide 
other supplemental information to the FAA regarding the targeted 
schedule reductions at JFK. The FAA requests the cooperation of all 
participants at the meeting in adhering to the procedures outlined in 
the notice.
    The text of the FAA letter describing the planned procedures and 
the text of the Department of Justice letter assessing those procedures 
are as follows:
September 21, 2007

Thomas O. Barnett, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust 
Division, Room 3109, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania 
Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20530-0001.

Dear Mr. Barnett:

    We anticipate that the Secretary of Transportation will soon 
determine, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 41722,\3\ that it is necessary to 
convene a meeting of air carriers with the Administrator of the Federal 
Aviation Administration (FAA) to discuss flight reductions at New 
York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in an effort to 
reduce overscheduling and flight delays during peak hours of operation. 
Because of severe congestion at that airport and the resulting delays 
and inconveniences to the traveling public, the Administrator intends 
to convene such a meeting in the immediate future. The purpose of this 
letter is to describe the format and procedures for the meeting and to 
ensure that, provided the meeting is conducted in accordance with this 
letter, the Department of Justice would not seek to challenge as a 
violation of the U.S. Antitrust laws any air carrier's attendance at or 
participation in the meeting or an air carrier's unilateral actions 
taken to comply with an Order of the Administrator issued as a result 
of the meeting.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ [The text of a footnote quoting 49 U.S.C. 41722 is omitted 
her.]
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Meeting Procedures

1. Notice to Air Carriers and Other Interested Parties

    To assist the Administrator in formulating flight reduction 
targets, as contemplated by 49 U.S.C. 41722, and to identify the air 
carriers that will attend the meeting, the Administrator will send a 
letter notifying the JFK airport operator and each scheduled air 
carrier serving JFK of the meeting. The letter will describe the 
necessity for the meeting and will identify the periods during a 
representative business day that the Administrator considers severely 
congested. The letter also will establish either the date and time for 
the meeting or a period during which the meeting is expected to take 
place. It will designate a location in the Washington, DC area as the 
meeting's location. The letter will advise that the meeting and all 
preparations for it are subject to the antitrust laws and that 
communication among air carriers regarding competitively sensitive 
information, such as markets served, prices charged, and marketing 
plans, could result in a violation of the antitrust laws. Copies of the 
letter will be sent to the Antitrust Division, as well as to the Air 
Transport Association, Regional Airline Association, and Air Carrier 
Association of America.
    The FAA Air Traffic Organization (ATO) will separately provide the 
JFK airport operator and each air carrier serving JFK with a summary 
showing the FAA's current information as to scheduled arrivals and 
departures at JFK (including code-share flights) for each air carrier 
during each 15 minute period from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on a representative 
business day. The FAA's focus on these hours is for overall planning 
purposes only, and it does not necessarily reflect the peak hours of 
operation at JFK. A letter enclosed with this summary will request that 
each air carrier confirm the FAA's current information as to that air 
carrier's scheduled operations at JFK, respond as to whether the air 
carrier will attend the scheduling reduction meeting, and, if the air 
carrier will attend, identify its representative.
    The FAA also will publish in the Federal Register a notice of the 
meeting that identifies the basis for the meeting, when and where the 
meeting will take place, and the manner in which the meeting will be 
conducted. The Federal Register notice will invite all scheduled air 
carriers to attend and will specify that a transcript of the meeting 
will be available for inspection in a public docket opened within three 
business days after the Administrator formally adjourns the scheduling 
reduction meeting.

2. Establishment and Notice of Flight Reduction Targets

    The Administrator shall establish flight reduction targets, based 
on the number of flight operations scheduled for a representative 
business day. As required by the statute, at least 48 hours prior to 
the meeting, the Administrator will publish notice of these targets on 
the FAA's Web site. The notice will specify the total number of 
reductions sought from the total number of flight operations conducted. 
The notice will not include carrier-specific limitations, targets, or 
suggested reductions.

3. Conduct of the Meeting

    The meeting will be conducted under the following procedures:
    a. The meeting will be chaired by the Administrator or by a 
delegate of the Administrator.
    b. The meeting will be open to attendance by the JFK airport 
operator and all scheduled air carriers, and the FAA will transcribe 
the meeting.
    c. Representatives of the Department of Justice will be invited to 
attend.
    d. At the beginning of the meeting, the FAA will announce that, 
pursuant to advice from the Department of Justice, no communication 
will be permitted by any air carrier representative in the presence of 
any representative of another air carrier regarding the subject of 
flight reductions at JFK or regarding any other competitively sensitive 
information, including but not limited to markets served, prices 
charged, and marketing plans.

[[Page 59582]]

    e. The Administrator will then distribute to the meeting's 
attendees a list of the number of flights, not specific as to air 
carrier, during each 15-minute period from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. on a 
representative business day, and he will identify any periods that he 
considers severely congested, as well as general targets for flight 
reductions during those periods. This list will not include carrier-
specific limitations, targets, or suggested reductions.
    f. Each air carrier serving JFK and attending the meeting will then 
be invited into a separate and confidential session with 
representatives of the ATO, at which the air carrier will be asked to 
offer flight reductions or schedule modifications. Only representatives 
of that air carrier and the U.S. government will be permitted to attend 
the offer sessions; however, the sessions will be transcribed.
    g. Any offer of flights reductions should specify the precise 
number of arrivals and departures, if any, the submitting air carrier 
is willing to remove from each of the severely congested periods 
identified by the Administrator, indicating whether the flight 
operation(s) would be cancelled or moved to another time period. The 
offer may not be explicitly contingent on specific flight reductions by 
other air carriers but may be conditioned on the Administrator's 
implementation of an overall reduction of specified numbers of flight 
operations toward the target during the periods in question. The offer 
may not contain information from the air carrier on markets served, 
prices charged, marketing plans or other competitively sensitive 
matters.
    h. After the completion of all such sessions, the ATO will: (1) 
Review the offers made; (2) revise, in light of the offers made, the 
list of the number of flights, not specific as to air carrier, during 
each 15-minute period from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. on a representative 
business day; and (3) consult with the Administrator. The Administrator 
will distribute to the meeting's attendees the carrier non-specific 
list of the number of flights on a representative business day, and he 
will identify any periods that he continues to consider severely 
congested and identify targets for flight reductions during those 
periods.
    i. At his discretion, the Administrator or his delegate may repeat 
steps (f) through (h), and he may continue the schedule reduction 
meeting as he deems necessary.
    j. If the Administrator determines that identifying carrier-
specific targets would facilitate voluntary flight reductions and 
schedule modifications, the Administrator may advise each air carrier 
separately and confidentially of flight reduction targets specific to 
that air carrier. No carrier-specific information will be provided to 
any air carrier other than information regarding that air carrier; 
however, the Administrator may make general assurances with respect to 
the overall proportionality of the flight reductions among the air 
carriers serving JFK.
    k. Following the Administrator's identification of further flight 
reduction targets, each air carrier attending the meeting that serves 
JFK will be invited to a separate and confidential session with 
representatives of the ATO, at which the air carrier will be given the 
opportunity to submit a new or revised offer of flight reductions or 
schedule modifications.
    l. At his discretion, the Administrator or his delegate may repeat 
steps (j) and (k), and he may continue the schedule reduction meeting 
as he deems necessary.
    m. The Administrator may terminate the schedule reduction meeting 
at his discretion.

4. Order of the Administrator Concerning Delays at JFK

    The ATO will review the final offers of each air carrier attendee 
of the meeting and recommend a proposed flight reduction plan to the 
Administrator. After the Administrator's review and approval of the 
plan, the resulting schedule reductions, including carrier-specific 
limitations, will be published in the Federal Register as a final order 
of the Administrator. The final order of the Administrator will specify 
a method by which air carriers adversely affected by the order may be 
relieved of its effect. The order will also be subject to modification 
by the Administrator.
    Please advise if the procedures are acceptable to you.

Sincerely,

Kerry B. Long, Chief Counsel

September 24, 2007

Kerry B. Long, Esq., Chief Counsel, U.S. Department of Transportation, 
Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Ave, SW., Washington, 
DC 20591.
Re: Proposed JFK Airport Delay Reduction Meeting

Dear Mr. Long:

    This letter is written in response to your September 21, 2007 
letter describing the planned format of a meeting of air carriers with 
the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (``FAA'') to 
discuss flight reductions at New York's John F. Kennedy International 
Airport (``JFK''). The meeting is being called because the Secretary of 
Transportation has determined, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 41722, that the 
meeting is necessary to reduce flight delays during peak hours of 
operation. You seek assurances that, provided the meeting and related 
activities are conducted as described in your letter, the Department of 
Justice would not seek to challenge as a violation of the antitrust 
laws any air carrier's attendance at or participation in the meeting or 
any carrier's unilateral actions taken to comply with an Order of the 
Administrator issued as a result of the meeting.
    According to your letter, all carriers participating in the meeting 
will be advised that the meeting and all preparations for it are 
subject to the antitrust laws and that communications among carriers 
regarding competitively sensitive information, such as markets served, 
prices charged, and marketing plans, could result in a violation of the 
antitrust laws and lead to civil or criminal liability. At the 
beginning of the meeting, the Administrator (or his delegee) will 
announce that, pursuant to advice from the Department of Justice, no 
communication will be permitted by any air carrier representative in 
the presence of any representative of another air carrier regarding 
flight reductions at JFK or any other competitively sensitive subject, 
including but not limited to markets served, prices charged, and 
marketing plans.
    Prior to the meeting, the Administrator will establish flight 
reduction targets, based on the number of flight operations scheduled 
on a representative business day. The Administrator will publish notice 
of these targets on the FAA Web site at least 48 hours prior to the 
meeting, as required by statute. The notice will specify the total 
number of reductions to be sought from the total number of flight 
operations conducted. The notice will not include carrier-specific 
limitations, targets or suggested reductions.
    At the meeting, the Administrator will distribute a list of flights 
currently scheduled each 15-minute period from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., 
indicate any periods that he considers to be severely congested, and 
provide general targets for flight reductions during those periods, 
which will not identify which carriers flights are targeted to be moved 
or eliminated. Each carrier will then be invited into a separate, 
confidential discussion with the Administrator during which the carrier 
will be asked to offer specific flight reductions or scheduled, 
changes, which shall not be

[[Page 59583]]

contingent on reductions offered by another carrier or carriers.
    After completion of the individual carrier sessions, the 
Administrator will revise the list of flights to reflect the individual 
discussions with the carriers. The carriers will again be given this 
list which will not identify flights by carrier. If the Administrator 
believes that severely congested time periods still exist, he may set 
revised targets and repeat the individual sessions with carriers.
    If the Administrator determines that identifying carrier-specific 
targets is necessary to facilitate voluntary flight reductions and 
schedule modifications, he may advise each carrier separately and 
confidentially of flight reduction targets specific to that carrier, 
which information will not be given to any other carrier or carriers. 
The Administrator may also make a general assurance with respect to the 
overall proportionality of the flight reductions being sought by the 
FAA from carriers serving JFK.
    The Administrator will develop and approve a proposed flight 
reduction plan and schedule reduction, which will be published in the 
Federal Register as a final order.
    Importantly, the procedures do not provide for any meetings among 
the carriers without the FAA present. The procedures will not allow any 
discussion or negotiation among carriers about flight reductions, 
prices charged, or markets served. During the course of the meetings, 
carriers will not be told schedule reductions or modifications other 
carriers are offering or being asked to offer.
    For these reasons, the Department is not presently inclined to 
initiate antitrust enforcement action against any carrier that 
participates in the FAA's flight reduction meeting and conducts itself 
in the manner described in your September 21 letter. This expresses the 
Department's current enforcement intention regarding the carriers' 
participation in the flight reductions meeting. The Department reserves 
the right to bring an enforcement action against any conduct that 
violated the antitrust laws.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas O. Barnett

    Issued in Washington, DC, on October 16, 2007.
Kerry B. Long,
Chief Counsel.
[FR Doc. 07-5177 Filed 10-16-07; 4:31 pm]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-M