Monday, August 03, 2009

I Hate It When He Does That

Senator Charles Schumer is a pretty big name in the Senate. I don’t follow him that closely but I see him often enough to know he has a knack for getting in front of the cameras. And I also know he’s been an ally on some controller issues.

That’s why I hate it when he gets in the paper with a story like this;

Schumer urges FAA to tackle NYC airline delays

It seems pretty innocuous, I know. A politician pushing for better service in his State. That’s true -- until you realize Senator Schumer helped create the problem. It even says so right on his own web page.

”US Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that JetBlue Airways will add two new flights to its daily service to Buffalo from John F. Kennedy airport starting May 4. Schumer got JetBlue to begin serving Buffalo in 2000 in exchange for securing landing rights at John F. Kennedy airport for the low cost airline. JetBlue currently has five daily flights from JFK to Buffalo. “

You see, back then, Senator Schumer was just doing what politicians do. He was securing service for his constituents. But he was able to push hard enough to bend the rules. The rules that were there trying to control the congestion.

”For its base, JetBlue chose John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), which was further from Manhattan than LaGuardia but still busier than the out-of-the way airports favored by Southwest. In September 1999, the Department of Transportation awarded JetBlue 75 takeoff and landing slots at JFK. The carrier received an exemption allowing it operate there between the peak hours of 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Neeleman observed that the non-peak hours were quite suitable for quick turnarounds.)

Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who had pledged to press for better air service to upstate New York in his election campaign, helped JetBlue finagle the slots. “

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t go around the rules that prevent congestion and then complain about the congestion. Senator Schumer probably believes (like many people) that better technology will make all this go away but it won’t. A 100-car parking lot will only hold 100 cars. All the technology in the world won’t change it.

In case all this sounds familiar, it should. Real familiar.

I hate it when I have to point out that a guy that is supposed to be on my side is wrong, but I have to call them like I see them. And I really hate it when it makes me look like I’m defending Marion Blakey.

”Schumer, as he has before, blamed the Bush administration's FAA administrator, Marian (sic) Blakey, who served from 2002 to 2007, saying she doled out new technologies to other airports before giving them to New York's. “

I’m not defending her. Still, NYC isn’t the place to run technological experiments. And, yes, I’ve said that before too.

You see, the basics of these issues don’t change. The New York Metro airports reached their capacity a long, long time ago. Over 40 years ago to be exact. All we’ve been doing since then is fighting over what is available. Don’t expect that to change.

Don Brown
August 3, 2009


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