The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is bent on fixing flight delays. To that end, the agency proposes to cap traffic at JFK…. Mandatory caps can get the job done, but we would be better served by a cap-and-trade scheme: the FAA should force airlines to buy and sell airport slots in the marketplace.
Torralba argues that while some airport congestion arises from a lack of coordination among carriers, some of it also results from the clustering inherent in the hub-and-spoke style of operations employed by most airlines. He notes that Southwest Airline uses a net rather than hub-and-spoke, and observes that the airports at which Southwest is a dominant carrier show a much higher percentage of on-time flights. A result is that cap-and-trade may impair the ability of airlines to support the current scale of hub-and-spoke systems, and the loss of some associated convenience for passengers.
Of course, if the result is more meaningful airline flight schedules, passengers will likely be much better off overall.