NEW YORK (AP) — The Department of Justice reached an agreement Tuesday with American Airlines and US Airways to allow their merger to proceed. As part of the deal, the two airlines agreed to concessions that will make it easier for other carriers to fly into some of the nation's busiest airports. The other airlines would like to serve those airports now but are blocked either by government restrictions on the number of takeoffs and landings or by too few available gates.
WASHINGTON D.C.'S REAGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT
American and US Airways will give up a combined 104 takeoff and landing slots at the airport, located minutes from the nation's capital. Two slots are required to fly a plane in and out of the airport at peak times.
JetBlue Airways will be offered 16 of those slots, which it currently leases from American. The Federal Aviation Administration will distribute the other 88 slots to various airlines. The last time slots became available at the airport in 2011, the FAA auctioned them off to airlines with less than 5 percent of the existing slots. JetBlue paid $40 million for eight pairs of daily slots at National. Sun Country Airlines won service to Lansing, Mich.
As a result, the new American will operate 44 fewer Washington daily departures than the 290 that American and US Airways currently operate.
Allegiant Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines all bid but didn't win slots at National or New York's LaGuardia Airport in the 2011 auction. Tiny Sun Country was awarded one slot at Reagan.
American and US Airways will also forfeit up to five gates at the airport: Gates 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32, if necessary.
The new airline also has to reserve 74 of its existing takeoff and landing slots for flights to small- or medium-sized airports for the next five years. Those will be on planes with 76 seats or less.
NEW YORK'S LAGUARDIA AIRPORT
The two airlines will also give up 34 landing and takeoff slots at LaGuardia, the airport closest to Manhattan preferred by business travelers.