updated 8/11/2008 5:40:57 PM ET 2008-08-11T21:40:57

Following through with a warning last week, the Air Transport Association of America — the trade organization for U.S. airlines — sued the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday to stop the auction of takeoff and landing slots at New York-area airports.

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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has also said it will take action — either in court or on Capitol Hill — to halt the slot auctions.

"We said that we would challenge the FAA decision in a court of law and we are doing just that," said ATA President and CEO James C. May. "Today we have started the process to protect our members' rights."

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia says the slot auctions should be set aside because they go beyond the FAA's authority and limits imposed by Congress.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation say the auctions are needed to reduce congestion at LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark Liberty airports.

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