Weiner Whips Wave
Talk about campaign of distortion. The Wave’s editorial about the AIR-21 bill only restated some of the most egregious and political motivated myths.
Myth-AIR-21 did not preserve the "slots" rule.
Fact-AIR-21, as originally written, eliminated the flight cap entirely for New York and Chicago airports, but the Queens Congressional delegation fought for and won a major victory for Rockaway. Where Chicago will see a lifting of its high-density rule, New York’s airports, on the other hand will see no increase in slots until at least 2007. The Port Authority, in fact, commended the Queens Delegation for grabbing "victory from the jaws of defeat." Only the smallest, quietest, regional jets will be allowed to apply for exemptions to New York’s slot rule, and airlines will first have to undergo an extensive review and elimination process by the Port Authority and the FAA.
Myth-As a result of AIR-21, there will be "700 new flights over our heads."
Fact-The Wave appears to have fabricated this number and this flight plan. While there have been 608 applications to fly smaller and quieter regional jets out of LaGuardia Airport-not over Rockaway, hundreds of these applications will not result in actual flights because in words of the Port Authority, "Adding that many flights is not realistic," said Bill DeCota, director of Aviation for the Port Authority. In response to speculation like the Wave’s, a Port Authority press release this week stated that, "Recent reports in the press and statements by observers that suggested there would, in fact, be that many flights added to the already crowded LaGuardia Airport are misleading and confusing to the public."
Myth-The Port Authority cannot limit flights on its own.
Fact-No carrier may add a fight or route if it is not given permission to access the gates or tarmac at LaGuardia and JFK—both of which are controlled by Port Authority. The FAA has authority over the airspace only. The Port Authority has the power to limit departures or landings by denying airlines access to space at its gates or on the tarmac which it controls.
The truth-Rodney Slater, Secretary of Transportation, said it best in a recent letter. He wrote: "Congressional passage of AIR-21 was a great victory for the residents of New York. It will bring additional funding to all three New York Metropolitan Airports that can be used for soundproofing, noise mitigation and abatement. And most importantly, the legislation preserved the high density or slot rule for New York’s airports until 2007."
AIR-21 marked the end of the "high-density rule" for millions of Americans-but not for us. It remains in force for New Yorkers because my colleagues and I chose good governance over political posturing. I will not stop fighting to quiet the skies over our community. I am hopeful that the Wave will not let the uninformed carping of a few distort the issue.
ANTHONY D. WEINER
MEMBER OF CONGRESS