American Airlines says asset sales total $381 million for its landing rights

Justice Department puts value of slots from New York’s LaGuardia, Washington’s Reagan airports even higher at $425 million after antitrust lawsuit’s settlement.
By DAVID KOENIG, Associated Press Published: March 11, 2014

— The CEO of American Airlines says his company is getting $381 million from selling takeoff and landing rights at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Reagan National Airport outside Washington.

Doug Parker said his airline was paid more than it expected to get for the rights — called slots — at the busy airports.

The U.S. Justice Department put a higher figure — more than $425 million — on American’s gain. Parker said that the government might have added the value of slots that American picked up at New York’s Kennedy Airport, “That’s their valuation, not ours.” The Justice Department did not immediately comment.

Driving hard bargain

In comments filed Monday in federal district court in Washington, the Justice Department said the value of the slots proved that it drove a hard bargain last year when it settled its antitrust lawsuit against the merger of American and US Airways. The airlines agreed to give up some of their slots at LaGuardia and Reagan and two gates each at airports in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Miami and Dallas.

The Justice Department said that American’s sale of the LaGuardia slots to Southwest Airlines Co. and Virgin America is complete, while the transfer of Reagan slots to Southwest, JetBlue Airways Corp. and Virgin America is expected to wrap up soon. Each airline had announced that it won bidding for the slots, but the sale prices were not disclosed. American traded some of the Reagan slots to JetBlue for slots at Kennedy Airport, a deal that Parker said was underway before the lawsuit.


Also ...

Canceled trip

hit thousands

— American Airlines and US Airways canceled more than 14,000 flights last month — more than double the rate from a year earlier — as winter storms disrupted air travel.

American Airlines Group Inc. said Monday that the cancellations hurt the first-quarter profit, but it didn’t give a figure. The company said it expects to give more details in early April.

Despite the storms, the company said, a key figure of revenue for every seat flown one mile rose between 2 and 4 percent in the first quarter. That statistic rises when an airline fills more seats or raises average fares.

American and US Airways canceled about 28,000 flights in the first two months of the year, up 164 percent from the same period in 2013 as storms hit hubs in Chicago, Dallas and elsewhere.

Despite the cancellations, traffic rose 0.5 percent, as passengers flew 15.08 billion miles last month, up from 15.01 billion in February 2013.

American and US Airways boosted capacity by 0.8 percent, so the average flight was a bit less crowded; 78.4 percent full, down from 78.7 percent a year earlier. All of the capacity increase was on international flying.

Associated Press

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