The whole idea behind that U.S. Department of Justice’s intervention in the US Airways and American Airlines merger was to ensure that it wasn’t anticompetitive, and to remove some barriers to entry for low cost carriers by forcing the two airlines to divest some slots.
But, now legacy carrier Delta Air Lines, one of the largest airlines in the world and itself the product of a merger between Delta and Northwest in 2008, is making a lot of noise, protesting that it should be allowed to be in on the slot and facilities bidding, as well.
Delta issue a statement arguing that all airlines — not just low cost carriers as the Justice Department has outlined — should be allowed to bid for slots and gates being divested.
In particular, Delta wants the right to bid for slots and facilities at Washington-Reagan National Airport (DCA) and Dallas Love Field.
“We think that all airlines should have the opportunity to bid on everything being divested, although as we said our primary interest is DCA slots and Love Field gates,” says Trebor Banstetter, a Delta spokesperson.
Delta contends that shutting out larger airlines in the bidding would mean that service to small- and medium-size communities would be a casualty of the divestitures because low cost carriers “typically do not provide service to small communities.”
Delta currently sub-leases a gate from American at Dallas Love Field for service to Atlanta, and is concerned that if American divests the gate, then Delta may lose access to it.
The airline continued its lobbying effort in the media today, announcing that it would add 18 daily nonstops from Dallas Love Field to five destinations, including New York-LaGuardia, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, but it would require access to gates at Dallas Love Field to handle the expansion.
“Delta believes that DOJ should not predetermine what communities will receive service with Reagan National slots of Love Field gates, and that it shouldn’t exclude any airline from the opportunity to bid for them,” Delta states.
Under the settlements, JetBlue would have the opportunity to acquire the slots it leases from American at DCA, and Southwest would be able to grab the La Guardia slots it leases from American.
There would be 88 other DCA slots, 24 other La Guardia slots, and two gates each at Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Love Field, LAX, and Miami Airport up for grabs with the DOJ approving low cost carriers to bid on them.
Delta wants in on the bidding.