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Wed, Feb 10, 2010

DOT Tentatively Grants Delta/US Airways Slot Waiver

30 Day Public Comment Period Open Now

The Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that it has tentatively decided to grant the waiver requested by Delta Air Lines and US Airways to allow the carriers to proceed with their proposed slot swap transaction at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and New York's LaGuardia Airport (LGA).  The proposed waiver is contingent on the requirement that the airlines sell some of their slot interests to carriers with no or limited service at the two airports in order to lessen the harm to consumers that might otherwise result from the applicants' increased dominance at DCA and LGA.

DOT issued a notice today that describes in detail the transaction, the Department's tentative findings and its proposals to remedy potential harm to consumers.  The notice provides 30 days for the public to comment on the transaction and the Department's tentative findings before the Department issues a final decision.

In the document granting the temporary waiver, the FAA states it believes there will be little to no impact on the agency's ability to manage traffic at either airport. Based on reviews of the petition, the agency tentatively finds that much of the request meets the public interest standards of ensuring the efficiency of use of the navigable airspace and warrants a waiver.

The FAA also tentatively finds that it would further the pro-competitive public interest factors to condition the waiver on making certain slot interests available to a new entrant and limited incumbent carriers. This waiver would require Delta and US Airways, respectively, to divest 14 pairs of slot interests at DCA and 20 pairs of slot interests at LGA.

The FAA is seeking comments on the waiver request, the proposed grant of waiver, the proposed conditions to the waiver, and the proposed divestiture remedies. The also are asking for comments on alternative divestiture remedies. Details of the proposal and the temporary waiver are available online.

FMI: www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#docketDetail?R=FAA-2010-0109.

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