ATLANTA and TEMPE, Ariz., May 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) and US Airways (NYSE: LCC) today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) announcement that they will reject the airlines' modified proposal with JetBlue Airways, AirTran Airways, WestJet and Spirit Airlines for a slot transaction at New York's LaGuardia Airport and Washington's Reagan National Airport.

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"We are disappointed the DOT and FAA rejected a proposal that would provide clear consumer benefits in both the Washington, D.C. and New York markets. There are no winners in this decision – consumers lost, communities lost and our employees lost.  Even our competitors lost.  The Delta-US Airways proposal also would provide expanded access to JetBlue at Washington National Airport and to AirTran, WestJet and Spirit Airlines at New York LaGuardia Airport. Upon review of the just-issued order, we believe the DOT and FAA's decision is inexplicable and has clearly exceeded their statutory authority.  We intend to appeal this ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals."

As previously outlined by Delta and US Airways, the airlines' proposed transaction would add flights to a number of cities from both the New York and Washington, D.C. markets.  

In New York, Delta will add or preserve service to dozens of small- and medium-sized communities while adding service in a number of markets not currently served by US Airways. The airline would also begin a multimillion dollar construction program at LaGuardia to connect the existing Delta and US Airways terminals. Delta has estimated that the transaction will generate as many as 7,000 new jobs in the New York City area driven by the construction of new facilities and the addition of service.

In Washington, D.C., US Airways will add 15 new, daily destinations to its schedule, including eight routes that currently have no daily nonstop service to Reagan National on any airline. US Airways plans to fly to all of the destinations that Delta decides to discontinue as a result of this transaction. The airline also will significantly expand its use of larger dual-class jets by nearly 50 percent at Reagan National.

Delta and US Airways on Aug. 12, 2009 announced their plans to transfer slots at LaGuardia and Reagan National airports. On Feb. 9, 2010, the FAA granted conditional approval of the transaction with a requirement that slots be divested at both airports.  On March 22, 2010, Delta and US Airways submitted to the FAA a modified agreement including the transfer of up to five pairs each of takeoff and landing slots at LaGuardia to AirTran, Spirit and WestJet, and the transfer of five pairs of Reagan National slots to JetBlue Airways.  Under the proposed multi-airline agreement, Delta would operate an additional 110 slot pairs at LaGuardia; AirTran, Spirit and WestJet would obtain five slot pairs each at LaGuardia from Delta and US Airways would acquire 37 slot pairs at Reagan National, while also gaining access to slots at Sao Paulo and Tokyo.

SOURCE Delta Air Lines

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