Recognizing the capability of slot-controlled airports over time to support additional operations, Congress has on several occasions authorized DOT to provide increased access by way of granting limited exemptions to the slot regulations. The slot restrictions at O’Hare and the two New York airports have expired, although the Department has implemented different operational limitations to relieve congestion at LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airports.
Slot restrictions at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport remain in effect, and since 2000 the Office of the Secretary has awarded 32 “beyond-perimeter” and 20 “within-perimeter” slot exemptions at that airport to carriers found to best meet specified statutory criteria. 49 U.S.C. § 41718. These exemptions are community-specific and cannot be sold or transferred, except through an air carrier merger or acquisition. When Congress authorizes new awards, or carriers return slot exemptions they cannot use, DOT institutes a public proceeding to allocate the available exemptions to the best qualified applicants.