United Continental Holdings Inc. abandoned a plan to buy extra landing rights at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport, almost five months after the U.S. sued to block the deal due to the carrier’s already dominant market share.
The airline gave up the effort to purchase 24 takeoff-and-landing authorizations, or “slots,” from Delta Air Lines Inc., the Justice Department said in a statement. The deal would have subjected Newark passengers to higher fares and fewer choices since United already has 73 percent of slots, the agency said in a November lawsuit.
The decision by United came days after the Federal Aviation Administration said it would allow carriers to apply to offer new service at Newark for the first time since 2008.
“United has used its slots monopoly to dominate air travel in and out of Newark,” assistant Attorney General Bill Baer said in a prepared statement. “The FAA’s action opens up Newark to more robust competition and achieves the very outcome we sought in litigation: protecting consumers from United’s plan to enlarge its monopoly at Newark.”
A spokeswoman for United didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A Delta spokeswoman declined to comment.
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