Introducing 'congestion pricing' at airports could help avoid delays

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Washington, Apr 23 (ANI): London's "congestion pricing"-the fee motorists pay to drive into certain parts of the city during peak traffic hours- could solve the problem of flight delays, says an economist at Tel Aviv University.

Dr. Itai Ater, from TAU's Faculty of Management, is suggesting that introducing "congestion pricing" at airports could save travellers time and airlines money.

"What I propose is a policy to reduce the amount of delays in the airline industry," said Ater.

In his opinion, airlines that want to use an airport's runways during the busiest times of the day should pay an additional fee.

And such premium access fee to the runway could reduce airport congestion - and the inevitable delays, as well as the risks, linked with crowded skies.

His suggestions are aimed to save airlines from future catastrophes as airports, and skies, get busier.

He said: "Airport congestion is a big problem in the U.S. and around the world. The estimated annual costs of delays are $10 billion. When there are delays on take off or landing, a cascading effect is created, with lots of associated problems, risks and financial costs."

Ater, who evaluated flight records from America's busiest airports for his doctoral thesis at Stanford University, said that some airlines would prefer not to pay the charge and operate during non-congested periods.

As a result, overall congestion would drop.

Currently, airlines at most airports pay for runway use depending on the weight of the aircraft, except for a few such as Chicago O'Hare, where airports use pre-determined slots to determine charges and time of operation.

Ater has warned that not all airports can benefit from his plan.

"At airports where there is a monopoly or almost a monopoly by a single airline, charging a tariff during peak hours has less meaning. In these airports, like those in Atlanta, Charlotte, or Detroit, we already find fewer delays. So why intervene? Individual airlines that dominate an airport do a better job of organizing flights more intelligently and efficiently to reduce the level of delays," he said.

He will present his advice at the National Bureau of Economic Research conference in Boston this May. (ANI)

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