More Developments in the Delta-US Airways Slot Swap

By | March 24, 2010
Delta Air Lines headquarters in Atlanta
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Back in August, Delta Air Lines and US Airways announced a deal to give Delta dominance at LaGuardia in exchange for Delta helping US Airways dominate Washington-National.

The DOT advised that in order for them to approve the transaction, the airlines would have to divest a certain number of slots at each airport in order for it to be approved. This week, the two airlines shot back with their own proposal. They will transfer up to five slot pairs each to AirTran, Spirit, and Westjet at LaGuardia. And at National, they will transfer five slot pairs to JetBlue.

There has been some criticism of this plan, as it allows the two airlines to pick and choose their competition. Bob Kneisley, associate general counsel of Southwest Airlines called for the DOT to reopen the proceeding for further investigation and comments on how best to reallocate the slots, which are considered public assets.

We tend to agree with Kneisley, that if they are willing to give up the slots, perhaps the government should decide who the most deserving recipient is.

Delta has promised that it will preserve service at LaGuardia to the small and medium sized markets previously served by US Airways while adding service in a number of new markets. US Airways has promised the same at Washington-National.