Plan to sell slots at NY airports may be blocked

July 10, 2008 5:26:31 PM PDT
The Bush administration's plan to let the free market play a role in easing gridlock at New York's congested airports has suffered a blow in Washington. A Senate subcommittee says it will block the U.S. Department of Transportation from implementing a plan to auction prime takeoff and landing slots at New York City's three main airports.

Transportation officials say the auctions are one of the fairest ways to handle the ravenous demand for flight times at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports.

They hoped airlines might respond by shifting flights to less busy times or by flying bigger planes with more seats.

But Sen. Charles Schumer calls the plan a "hare-brained scheme." He says it will only raise costs while doing nothing about delays.