Southwest Pilots Opposes Delta
April 7, 2010 -
Unprecedented agreement would shut out low fares in
anti-competitive deal would create hubs dominated by Delta at LGA and US
Airways at DCA, giving them unchecked market and pricing power. “The
pilots of Southwest support our Company’s request for a free market
process to take place regarding these open slots in two very key
destinations,” said Capt. Carl Kuwitzky, SWAPA President. “But we also
support the benefit to the public of a low-cost carrier providing true
competition for flyers in these markets."
On March 22, after the DOT comment deadline closed, Delta and US Airways announced a revision to their proposal: they would agree to divest some slots, but only if they could hand-pick four smaller airlines to be given those slots. Southwest Airlines was purposely excluded from an opportunity to bid.
February 10, 2010 - The Department of Transportation announced that it
has tentatively decided to grant the waiver requested by Delta Air Lines
and US Airways to allow the carriers to proceed with their proposed slot
swap transaction at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and
The proposed waiver was contingent on the requirement that the airlines
sell some of their slot interests to carriers with no or limited service
at the two airports in order to lessen the harm to consumers that might
otherwise result from the applicants' increased dominance at DCA and
“An economic expert estimates that Southwest’s service to LGA and DCA
would save the public approximately $200 million, annually, if Southwest
were given the opportunity to acquire the slots,” continued Kuwitzky.
“This proposal is a back-room deal specifically designed to keep
Southwest Airlines and its low-fare model away from these airports
Accordingly, while DOT has tentatively decided to grant Delta Air Lines' and US Airways' joint waiver request in part, DOT has tentatively determined that the public interest would best be served by creating new and additional competition at the airports to counterbalance the potential harm to consumers. To achieve that goal, DOT proposed waiver would require the divestiture of 14 pairs of slot interests at DCA and 20 pairs of slot interests at LGA to new entrant and limited incumbent carriers.
In a letter to DOT
dated August 24, 2009, Delta and US Airways stated approving the
transfer would enable Delta to maximize the efficient utilization of the
LaGuardia Operating Authorizations by substantially increasing the
average seat capacity of the aircraft which will be using the
transferred Operating Authorizations. Significantly, Delta would replace
all US Airways turboprop flights with jet aircraft, including larger
2-class regional jets and mainline jets.
As a result of the
transaction, capacity at LaGuardia will increase by 2.3 million seats, a
13 percent improvement in airport capacity all with no increase in the
total number of LaGuardia operations. US Airways would add 15 nonstop
points to its DCA network and offer an additional 1 million seats to
Delta and US
Airways responded stating, “Delta and US Airways are disappointed in the
DOT’s decision that, if implemented, would negatively impact the
consumer and economic benefits created by the proposed transaction by
divesting 16 percent of the transaction at
"Our goal remains to increase access for customers in small communities to LaGuardia and Washington-Reagan National airports. We appreciate the thousands of employees, customers and elected and community leaders who have voiced their support for our transaction. However, we expect that if this order is implemented as proposed the transaction will not go forward and significant consumer benefits will never be realized. Both airlines will review the DOT's proposed rulemaking to determine our next steps."
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