Air- Southwest-JetBlue Seen Reprising Flight-Slot Duel – Bloomberg

Posted: November 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

Nov. 14, 2013

The sale of prized airport flight slots as part of the American Airlines-US Airways Group Inc. (LCC) merger is poised to trigger a second faceoff between the country’s biggest low-cost carriers.

JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) was the victor in a 2011 auction for access to Washington’s Reagan National and New York’s LaGuardia, topping larger Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) Now, flight rights at the airports are going on the block again under the settlement ending the U.S. lawsuit over the American-US Airways tie-up.

Reagan National and LaGuardia are among only four U.S. airports with federal flight curbs to damp congestion. Airlines covet chances to fly there, because the airports’ proximity to the cities’ downtowns makes them popular with business travelers who typically buy the most-expensive tickets.

“JetBlue and Southwest clearly are going to be the most active bidders,” Hunter Keay, a Wolfe Research Inc. analyst in New York, said in an interview today. “For Reagan and LaGuardia, those two are probably going to be the driving force. They’ve got the cash to spend.”

AMR Corp.’s American and US Airways will give up 52 pairs of flight slots at Reagan — for one takeoff and landing — and 17 pairs at LaGuardia as part of the Nov. 12 accord to resolve the Justice Department suit. The divestitures are intended to boost competition and reduce fares by bringing in more low-cost operators, according to the government.

via Southwest-JetBlue Seen Reprising Flight-Slot Duel – Bloomberg.

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