Air Transport World

They love New York.(COMPETITION)(market share of air transportation)

The New York City metropolitan region is one of the busiest and most congested aviation markets in the world. Last year, the three primary commercial airports that serve New York--JFK, LaGuardia and Newark--handled 107 million passengers, according to Airports Council International, which ranked them 15th, 41st and 19th respectively. "In our opinion, it's the capital of the world," says Marc Lavorgna, a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages the three airports. "Everybody comes to New York at some point."

The spotlight has shone on those airports over the past year and it has not always shown them in the most favorable light, particularly over the summer, when JFK earned the dubious honor of being the most delay-prone airport in the US, according to the US Dept. of Transportation. A recent DOT report showed that the airports together were the worst in the country for ontime arrivals, with more than 40% of incoming flights arriving late.

In late September, President George W. Bush stepped gingerly into the fray, indicating that DOT and FA needed to move quickly to "address the problem" of flight delays. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters urged airlines to take the matter into their own hands via voluntary schedule reductions (see box, p. 66).

But that may be easier said than done. No fewer than three major US international carriers and one LCC are trying to lay claim to the country's richest aviation market, while the issue is complicated further by the enormous number of non-US airlines that fly into the region and contribute to the problem.



When Chicago O'Hare was beset by delays a few years ago, FA was able to point the finger at just two carriers, American Airlines and United Airlines, whose historic dominance of the market was long-established, and achieve proportionate flight reductions that did not affect their relative positions there.

The dynamics of the New York market are more fluid, with no airline having as much as a 25% share if all three airports are considered. Those that view New York as a critical part of their networks are undaunted and reluctant to cede any ground. Rather than significantly reducing schedules and cutting back service, they are eyeing expansion and investing millions of dollars to upgrade their offerings.

"It's the straw that stirs the drink, so that's why we are putting the importance on New York," American VP-Global Sales David Cush told ATW at the opening of AA 's $1.3 billion new terminal development at JFK, from where the carrier flies to more than two dozen international destinations including London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Zurich and Rio de Janeiro. …

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