Delta Isn’t Eligible for Love Field Slots, Justice Department Rules

Skift Take

The Justice Department is absolutely right to bar Delta from taking some of the available slots at Love Field. Substituting one of the largest global airlines there for another doesn’t make much sense.

— Dennis Schaal

FORT WORTH, Texas _ It looks like Delta Air Lines is out of the bidding for two gates at Dallas Love Field.

In a court filing Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice said that Delta is “not an appropriate divestiture candidate” for gates and slots that American Airlines is required to give up as part of its settlement agreement to win approval for its merger with US Airways.

“The United States concluded that divesting assets to Delta would fail to address the harm arising from the merger and would be inconsistent with the goals that the remedy seeks to achieve,” the filing said.

American has to give up two gates at Dallas Love Field, one of which Delta leases to provide flights to Atlanta on small regional jets. Delta argued that it should be given the opportunity to bid on those two gates so it could increase service to other cities out of Love Field once the Wright Amendment restrictions are lifted in October.

In its filing, the Justice Department said the purpose of the Love Field divestiture is to attract a “low-cost carrier” to the airport and provide more competition for the newly merged American Airlines, which flies out of its hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. “Delta, given its overall size and scope as well as its presence at DFW, can and does challenge (American) for the business of corporate customers flying to and from the Dallas area.”

Last year, Delta said it would add 18 daily nonstop flights from Love Field, to its hubs in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul if it won the gates. Southwest Airlines, which controls most of the traffic at Love Field, and Virgin America are also bidding for the gates at Love Field.

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