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Port Authority fighting auction of Stewart landing slots

By Michael Randall
Times Herald-Record
October 10, 2008 6:00 AM

STEWART AIRPORT — The Port Authority will seek an injunction to stop a federal plan to auction takeoff and landing times at the three major New York City-area airports.

Spokesman Pasquale DiFulco said the plan could hurt smaller markets like Stewart International Airport. Port Authority operates all four airports.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration are pushing the auction to reduce backups and flight delays at the three airports.

Federal authorities are focused on New York because roughly two-thirds of flight delays around the country are caused by backups there.

"It's not good news for anyone who flies," DiFulco said.

Putting a price on something the airlines do not pay for now could prompt them to cut service to smaller cities and smaller markets, like Stewart, he said.

Port Authority's efforts to boost Stewart service since it took over the airport's lease last Nov. 1 have been hurt by higher gas prices and a rough economy. Since April, one airline serving Stewart went bankrupt, one discontinued service, and three of the four others cut back on flights.

The Air Transport Association, which represents commercial air carriers, also opposes the plan.

mrandall@th-record.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Tags: airport, newburgh, stewart

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