Airlines

Airport Auctions and Nerd Puns

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whoops

Take a minute and savor the consummate nerdiness of this headline about the death of a plan to auction landing slots at New York airports:

Airports: Coase, but no cigar

A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

OK, on to the bad news. Late in his tenure, President George W. Bush proposed auctioning off landing slots at Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark—some of the most famously congested airports in the country. This week, Obama killed the plan. The New York Times reported that the Transportation Department justified the change thusly: "In proposing to rescind the auctions, the department noted that the rule making was highly controversial and that most of those filing comments opposed the slot auctions,"…"The Department also noted that circumstances have changed since the rules were issued, including changes in the economy."

As explained yesterday by economist Sandy Ikeda on New York University's market-oriented blog (under that beautiful headline, and channeling Ronald Coase) much of the fight centers around the lack of clarity about property rights at New York airports in the first place.

Among those opposed were the airlines themselves. The Bush administration argued the slots are the property of the FAA while the airlines claimed the slots belong to them, as reported in this NYT article from a year ago, which also noted that at London's Heathrow the airlines were initially given the slots, some of which were then sold to American companies.

Via Issac Morehouse.

Looks like privatization efforts at Midway airport are FUBAR as well.

For more on airport privatization, go here.

NEXT: Nothing Wrong With Federal Inability to Contain Medical Costs that More Federal Medical Costs Can't Cure, Eh?

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  1. President George W. Bush proposed auctioning off landing slots

    I find it difficult to believe G W Peron was personally involved in this in any way. Nothing I have read about it in the past even mentioned the (then) Idiot-in-Chief.

  2. THUSLY?????

    “Thusly was introduced in the 19th century as an alternative to thus in sentences such as Hold it thus or He put it thus. It appears to have first been used by humorists, who may have been echoing the speech of poorly educated people straining to sound stylish. The word has subsequently gained some currency in educated usage, but it is still often regarded as incorrect.”

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/thusly

  3. Um, so not having property rights in a government monopoly sucks?

    I get that that’s not your point. And yes, everything would be better iphonle.

    So.

  4. Auctioning of ‘slots’ is a grand idea. The bureaucratic doling is what is disgusting.

  5. Transportation Department justified the change thusly: “In proposing to rescind the auctions, the department noted that the rule making was highly controversial and that most of those filing comments opposed the slot auctions,”

    When most comments are against a specific government action, we can always expect the government to respect the will of the….hahahaha, just kidding.

  6. While I support slot-auctions in principle, the problem with the New York auctions would be that airlines that have paid hundreds of millions out of their own coffers for new or refurbished terminals (for example, the new T5 at JFK, which opened last year after JetBlue spent somewhere in the neighbourhood of $750 million, and the new T8 at JFK, paid for by AA) would then have to in turn pay more than they otherwise would for slots in the auctions or face losing their investment in the facilities. The slot auctions were not even proposed at the time JetBlue and American made the investments – there is a question of fairness here.

    Of course, the answer would be for the Port Authority to pay the airlines the (depreciated) value of the facilities…but I don’t believe the Federal proposal would have resulted in PANYNJ seeing any revenue from the auctions, and they’re not exactly flush with money right now – this is what happens when regulatory power and ownership are spread across several public and private entities.

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