I think I might be dreaming, but the Wall Street Journal reported today that regulators in New York are studying removing the age-old and useless “perimeter rules” that forbid most flights from west coast cities from landing at close in and convenient La Guardia airport.
Here’s the nut of that article:
In late 2013, when San Francisco-based Virgin America snagged 12 slots at New York’s popular (but creaky) La Guardia Airport (LGA) I began to wonder if it would launch an effort to get rid of the rules (see post). I suspect both Delta and Virgin would love to add lucrative new routes from their hubs at LAX and SFO as well as other key west coast cities such at Seattle, Las Vegas, Portland or San Diego. American Airlines, with a big presence at both LAX and LGA would likely love to see the rules dumped, too.
Last year Virgin CEO David Cush said that the airline had a few tricks up its sleeves, and I’m wondering now if transcon flights from LAX and SFO to LaGuardia might be one of those tricks. Today, a spokesperson told TravelSkills, “We’re very supportive of the move to lift restrictions at LaGuardia, as long as the process also ensures that smaller and new entrant carriers at that airport have fair access in terms of the potential expansion opportunities.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to fly nonstop from SFO, SEA or LAX to close-in LaGuardia (LGA) and only have to deal with a 25-or-so-minute hop into Manhattan instead of that 45+ minute, traffic-clogged slog in from JFK or Newark? Last year I flew Delta from California (via Atlanta) to La Guardia and was very impressed with its two recently updated terminals there.
From LGA, the trip to Manhattan via cab or car is about 25 minutes vs 45-60 minutes from JFK. (Cost is $30-35 plus tip and toll from LGA and a flat $52 plus tip and toll from JFK.)
The useless “perimeter rules” forbid flights from more than 1,500 miles away from landing at LGA, effectively shutting out west coast cities. They were put in place to help shift demand to the newer Kennedy and Newark airports in the 1960s.
If the Port Authority decides to abolish the rules, or at least make some exceptions, it won’t be the first time– For example Denver International, which is 1,600 miles away, received an exemption from the rule in the 1980s. Oddly, the rule does not apply on Saturdays and back in 2004, now defunct American Trans Air (ATA) proposed nonstop service from LaGuardia to SFO with continuing service to Honolulu. Delta offers Saturday only flights from between LGA and Aruba.
In 2009, Senator John McCain tried (but failed) to abolish the perimeter rules at both LGA and Washington-National.
Last year, similar rules disallowing flights from the west coast to the very convenient Washington National Airport (as opposed to the horribly inconvenient Dulles International) were overturned, allowing nonstops on Virgin and United from San Francisco.
What’s your preferred NYC airport? Why? If La Guardia’s perimeter rules get overturned, would you choose it over Newark or JFK? Please leave your comments below.
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