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An opening at DCA for competition?

4:25 p.m. Update: Delta Air Lines said it is "reviewing our options" after U.S. regulators approved a swap of New York and Washington flight slots with US Airways Group, while rejecting the carriers' bid to set the terms of the exchange.

Both Delta and US Airways said they were disappointed by the ruling.

Original post: Delta Air Lines and US Airways Group may swap takeoff and landing slots in New York and Washington provided the carriers surrender some flights to preserve competition, the U.S. Transportation Department said Tuesday in a statement.

The department will require the carriers to divest 14 pairs of daily slots at Washington's Reagan National Airport and 20 pairs at New York's LaGuardia Airport and make them available through a blind sale to airlines that have little or no service at the two airports, according to an e-mailed statement.

Southwest Airlines, which has unsuccessfully sought a presence at National for years, asked DOT in March to force Delta and US Airways to auction the slots.

The slots "ought to simply be auctioned off to the highest bidder," said Robert Kneisley, associate general counsel for Southwest in an interview in March.

In August, US Airways agreed to trade 140 flight slots at New York's La Guardia Airport in exchange for 42 slots at National owned by Delta. In February, the Federal Aviation Administration said the government would approve the deal if the two airlines agreed to give up the 14 slots at National along with 20 at La Guardia.

-- Staff and wire reports

By Michael Bolden  |  May 4, 2010; 3:13 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Airports  
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Not to mention the United Continental merger. Clamor up airline travelling public. We want an open market at DCA for low fare airlines.

Give me Virgin America and Southwest at DCA!

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | May 4, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

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