Last month, US Airways <LCC.N> and American <AAMRQ.PK> agreed to
divest 17 pairs of slots at LaGuardia, a busy airport with limited
capacity, as well as certain other assets, as part of a settlement
of an antitrust lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department.
The sources, who asked not to be named to preserve business
relationships, did not say how many of the 17 pairs of slots each
airline would purchase. Terms of the sales are not known.
Southwest, US Airways and American declined to comment on the
question of LaGuardia slot pairs. Virgin America did not return
calls or email requesting comment.
In the deal made in November the two airlines also agreed to give up
52 pairs of takeoff and landing slots at Reagan National Airport,
just outside Washington, D.C.
JetBlue <JBLU.O> has been expected to be interested in the slots at
Reagan National that it is currently leasing from American.
US Airways and American announced in February that they planned to
merge. The Justice Department sued to stop the deal, saying it would
lead to higher fares. The sides settled on Nov. 12 after the
airlines agreed to a long list of divestitures.
In addition to slot sales, the airlines also agreed to give up gates
at five key airports: Boston Logan International Airport, Chicago
O'Hare International Airport, Dallas Love Field, Los Angeles
International Airport and Miami International Airport.
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The Justice Department argued that the slot and gate sales would
give low cost competitors better access to some of the country's
busiest airports. Analysts, however, said that a relatively small
number of flights would be affected and any change would be
The Justice Department selects which airlines are eligible to buy
the assets that the airlines must sell. It has said that the gates
at the five airports will be transferred on "commercially reasonable
terms: to the acquirers.
Large carriers Delta Air Lines and United were believed to have been
excluded from the sale.
In a side agreement with the Department of Transportation, the
airlines agreed to dedicate their commuter slots at Reagan National
to medium, small and non-hub cities.
[By Karen Jacobs and Diane Bartz © 2013 Thomson Reuters. All
(Reporting by Diane Bartz, editing by Ros Krasny and David Gregorio)
Copyright 2013 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
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