Crowley Spearheads Bipartisan Call on U.S. Department of Transportation to Approve Agreement that will Create Jobs in Queens

May 4, 2010
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), along with 39 of his colleagues, called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to quickly approve the agreement between Delta, US Airways, Airtran, Westjet, Spirit Airlines, and jetBlue to exchange takeoff and landing slots at LaGuardia and Washington Reagan National Airports.  This transaction would generate thousands of new jobs at LaGuardia Airport, as well as increase economic activity in and around the airport.

“Our economy is on the mend, and this project is exactly the kind of initiative that will keep us moving forward,” said Congressman Crowley.  “With the green light from the Department of Transportation, this slots exchange will give air travelers more options, create an estimated 7,000 jobs in Queens and reduce air noise by removing older, louder planes from the sky.  I thank my colleagues for joining me in the call to DOT to let this proposal move forward. ”

Under the agreement, Delta airlines would operate an additional 110 slots at LaGuardia Airport, and would give up some of its slots at Washington Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC.  Importantly, the airline would subsequently begin a multimillion dollar construction program at LaGuardia to connect the existing Delta and US Airways terminals.  An estimated 7,000 new jobs would be created as a result of this agreement, including construction, airport operational and tourism-related jobs.  Additionally, Delta would phase out use of older, loud turbo-prop planes for quieter jets – resulting in less air noise polluting the communities around the airport. 

The bipartisan letter spearheaded by Congressman Crowley was also signed by the following 39 members of Congress: Reps. Gary L. Ackerman (D-NY), Michael A. Arcuri (D-NY), John Barrow (D-GA), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Timothy H. Bishop (D-NY), Allen Boyd (D-FL), Henry E. Brown, Jr (R-SC), Dave Camp (R-MI), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Artur Davis (D-AL), Bill Delahunt (D-MA), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Jeff Flake (D-AZ), John J. Hall (D-NY), Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY), Peter T. King (R-NY), Jack Kingston (R-GA), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Christopher John Lee (R-NY), John Lewis (D-GA), Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Connie Mack (R-FL), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Michael E. McMahon (D-NY), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Jeff Miller (R-FL), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ed Pastor (D-AZ), Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), Paul Ryan (R-WI), F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr (R-WI), Vic Snyder (D-AR), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Melvin L. Watt (D-NC), Lynn A. Westmoreland (R-GA).

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FULL TEXT OF LETTER TO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

 

The Honorable Ray LaHood                                          

Secretary of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20590

 

Dear Mr. Secretary:

As you know, last August, Delta and US Airways signed an agreement to facilitate the exchange of slots between the two airlines at LaGuardia (LGA) and Washington Reagan National Airports (DCA).  In response to concerns raised by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), this proposal has been updated to include Air Tran, Spirit, WestJet and jetBlue.  As Members of Congress representing the areas around the U.S. that would benefit from the new and improved services created by this transaction, we would like to express our strong support for the amended proposal recently submitted to the FAA. 

The new submission urges the FAA to approve an amended version of the original Delta-US Airways LGA-DCA request that has been expanded to provide slots to Air Tran, Spirit, and WestJet at LGA, and jetBlue at DCA. This transaction will bring significant benefits to our constituents, communities and States, including expanded access for millions of new passengers to New York City and Washington, DC.  Further, it would help create direct service to smaller communities from LGA and DCA, as well as reduce delays and congestion.  Finally, new competition in New York and Washington, DC will result in greater benefits for consumers and thousands of new jobs in a very difficult economy.

Delta and US Airways have made a concerted and significant effort to address the concerns raised by the FAA in its February 9, 2010 response to the original Delta/US Airways proposal (FAA-2010-0109).  Now that these concerns have been addressed, we believe the time has come to grant the airlines’ waiver request so this transaction can be completed and the carriers can begin the process of creating new jobs and providing air travelers with more options. 

This transaction is incredibly important to our constituents, communities and our economies, and it is our hope that your department will recognize the benefits and approve the transaction, as amended, as soon as possible.  We thank you in advance for your consideration of our views, and look forward to your timely reply.