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To Promote Competition, USDOT Proposes New Opportunity for Low- or Ultra-Low Cost Carrier to Serve Newark-Liberty International Airport

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Washington - Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued a notice to the Federal Register of its intention to identify a single low-cost or ultra-low cost carrier to operate 16 peak afternoon and evening runway timings at Newark-Liberty International Airport (EWR). The action comes on the heels of a DC Circuit Court ruling and President Biden’s Executive Order Promoting Competition in the American Economy that instructs federal agencies to take action to lower prices for families, increase wages for workers, and promote innovation and faster economic growth. 

“Opening up more slots at Newark to lower cost carriers will provide air travelers with more choices and lower prices,” Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg said. “DOT’s action today is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s broader effort to create a more competitive economy that benefits the American consumer.” 

Comments on the proposed process for EWR are due seven days from publication in the Federal Register. 

This action follows on several steps that USDOT has taken in recent weeks as part of President Biden’s Executive Order on Competition and other efforts to protect consumers. Last week, USDOT released a report detailing the Department’s numerous actions to address the failure of airlines to provide timely refunds for flights cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumer complaints spiked nearly 600% from the previous year and USDOT has taken actions that have helped thousands of people get their money back.  

DOT is planning additional steps to protect air travelers including:  

  • Initiating rulemaking that would enhance passengers’ rights when a flight is operating but the passenger decides not to fly because of government restrictions. Current regulations do not cover this situation.  
  • Moving forward with rulemaking on ancillary fees, called for in the President’s Executive Order, which would require airlines to increase the transparency of fees for ancillary services. 

For more information on the President’s Executive Order Promoting Competition in the American Economy, read the fact sheet HERE

About runway slots: 

To ensure safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses runway slots to limit scheduled air traffic at certain capacity constrained airports, including EWR. Allowing a low- or ultra-low cost airline the opportunity to utilize the limited number of slots will ensure competition among all air carriers.