AIR TRAVEL: Prodding the Reluctant Airlines

Because flight delays are up 73% this year, air carriers have said they would be willing to discuss spreading out their flight schedules, which overload airports at peak periods. But no carrier wants to be first to shift flights to unpopular times. So preparations for industry-wide talks on scheduling, which require a Government exemption from antitrust prosecution, have proceeded about as slowly as a search for lost baggage.

To spur faster action, the Federal Aviation Administration said last week it was preparing to dictate takeoff and landing schedules on a minute-by-minute basis at the airports that account for 76% of...

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