DOT announces final rules for New York slot auctions

The Transportation Department has finalized rules for auctioning takeoff and landing slots at New York's three major commercial airports and hopes to begin the auction process in January. "Without slot auctions, a small number of airlines will profit while travelers bear the brunt of higher fares, fewer choices and deteriorating service," Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said in a statement on Thursday. The DOT plans to cut 60 flights a day from LaGuardia Airport, maintain current caps at Newark Liberty and JFK airports, then auction about 60 slots from all three airports on Jan. 12. Over five years, nearly 300 slots would go on the auction block. "The auctions are not large enough to disrupt service but will allow new entrants to come in," the DOT general counsel said Thursday in a conference call with reporters. "We are looking for stability and competition, and we want to create incentives for airlines to fly larger airplanes."

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