DOT grants Delta/US Airways slot waiver, but must offload slots via blind auction
US Department of Transportation decided (04-May-2010) to allow Delta Air Lines and US Airways to swap slots at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and New York's LaGuardia Airport (LGA), subject to the condition that the carriers divest themselves of a number of slots via a blind auction at both airports to preserve competition. While Delta and US Airways made a counter-proposal in which they would transfer 15 pairs of slots at LaGuardia and 4 ½ pairs at Reagan National to several smaller carriers, the department said the carriers’ counter-offer would be insufficient to preserve competition at the two airports. [more - DoT]
US DoT: “This decision will enable the two airlines to carry out their transaction while making sure competition is preserved at both airports.” Ray LaHood, Transportation Secretary. Source: Company statement, 04-May-2010.
Meanwhile, Delta and US Airways released (04-May-2010) a statement on the DoT's decision stating they intend to appeal this ruling to the US Court of Appeals. [more - Delta/US Airways]
Delta Air Lines/US Airways: “We are disappointed the DOT and FAA rejected a proposal that would provide clear consumer benefits in both the Washington DC and New York markets. There are no winners in this decision – consumers lost, communities lost and our employees lost. Even our competitors lost. The Delta-US Airways proposal also would provide expanded access to JetBlue at Washington National Airport and to AirTran, WestJet and Spirit Airlines at New York LaGuardia Airport. Upon review of the just-issued order, we believe the DOT and FAA’s decision is inexplicable and has clearly exceeded their statutory authority." Source: Joint company statement, 04-May-2010.