Airport fee proposal flies into limbo

 - May 22, 2008, 6:03 AM

The comment period closing date has been suspended indefinitely on a DOT proposal to adopt “market based” solutions to relieve airport congestion and delays. If adopted, landing fees could soar for business and commercial operators. The comment period was scheduled to end November 19, but the FAA suspended the proposal because the events of September 11 have, “at least in the short run, contributed to a significant decrease in airport congestion at formerly busy airports.” “Market based” means that airport fees would be designed “specifically to encourage air carriers to use limited airport capacity in a more efficient manner.” Such market-based approaches could include slot auctions, congestion pricing, peak-period pricing and “flat fees,” which would restructure existing weight-based landing fees so that total airfield costs are recovered through a higher average fee, thereby affecting the mix of aircraft that operate at an airport.