BOSTON, AUG. 28 -- In an effort to improve safety and scheduling, Logan International Airport has drawn up a four-point plan to relieve flight congestion during peak hours by discouraging small planes from using the airport while giving priority to commercial jetliners.
"We need badly to spare the next generation of air travelers the delays and craziness that we've seen in the past year or two," David W. Davis, executive director of the Massachusetts Port Authority, said today. "And to do that we have to turn around a fairly ancient philosophy that permits big airports to be operated on a first-come first-served basis."
The plan would increase landing fees for operators of small aircraft, and Davis said he expected the immediate effect of the fee increase would be to redirect commuter planes and private craft to smaller airports in the greater Boston area.
The Logan plan was announced Thursday, a day before the Transportation Department announced that six airlines had agreed to adjust their flight schedules at Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth and here.
Patrick Moscaritolo, acting director of aviation for the port authority, said that while the federal agreement was "good news for air travelers . . . it's only a temporary solution to a far more fundamental problem. This continues to be a first-come first-served system, which we don't think is appropriate. We'll continue to push forward with our plans."
Under the Logan plan, the $25 minimum landing fee would rise to a level to be determined after a 90-day public comment period. Small aircraft operators would pay a surcharge for using the airport during peak travel times in addition to increased landing fees.
Davis said officials believe assigning priority to larger airliners is fair because the jets carry 95 percent of the passengers using the airport while accounting for 60 percent of the traffic. Commuter flights and general aviation, he said, carry only about 5 percent of the passengers while accounting for 40 percent of Logan traffic.
Other elements of the plan call for:
A special FAA fund to assist smaller airports with improvement projects that would allow them to handle more commuter and general aviation flights.
A passengers' "bill of rights" that would protect air travelers from flight cancellations, overbooking and lost luggage.
A federal commitment to hire more air traffic controllers.
Private pilots are expected to fight the Logan plan. "They're clearly discriminating against one or more classes of aircraft," said John J. Sheehan, executive vice president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.