Update: Southwest angry over Delta/US Airways slot deal


Southwest Airlines is objecting strenuously to the revised slot deal between Delta and US Airways, finely crafted to freeze out Southwest so the Dallas-based airline could not grow its service at the two airports. Southwest is objecting to the deal on the grounds that when slots become available they should be open to all comers, not traded between airlines.

See original report: Delta and US Airways controls who gets slots in La Guardia, Washington National deal

A Federal Aviation Administration requirement that Delta and US Airways divest the balance of the slots the agency required under its original tentative approval would put an additional 14 slot pairs in play. But, if the agency does not approve the latest slot deal between Delta and US Airways to swap slots at LaGuardia and Washington National, they will not go forward with the deal.

Late Monday, Southwest filed comments objecting to the latest deal, just as the comment period was about to close. The Dallas Morning News quoted Associate General Counsel Bob Kneisley who hastily revised the company’s comments to the agency after the US/LCC deal was announced almost at the close of the comment period.

The News quoted Kneisley as saying, "as we predicted in our comments filed earlier today, US Airways and Delta did exactly as we feared by attempting to hand select their competitors in the New York and Washington DC markets. It is not up to US Airways and Delta to unilaterally decide how public assets such as valuable airport slots are put into use to serve consumers, and this new proposal does not alleviate the highly anticompetitive nature of the original Delta-US Airways agreement".

He added, "this announcement, made immediately after the comment deadline on the original proposal closed, confirms the need for the DOT/FAA, with the appropriate participation of the DOJ, to reopen the entire proceeding for further investigation and to permit additional comments on this new proposal."

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