Tourism/Transportation

Southwest Airlines acquires slots at LaGuardia airport

Southwest's began offering flights to Puerto Rico in April. (Credit: La Fortaleza/Alex Rafael Román) Southwest’s began offering flights to Puerto Rico in April. (Credit: La Fortaleza/Alex Rafael Román)

Southwest Airlines has acquired 12 takeoff and landing slots (for six round-trip flights) at New York’s LaGuardia Airport being divested by American Airlines as part of its merger with U.S. Airways.

In addition, Southwest gained permanent control of 10 takeoff and landing slots (for five round-trip flights) that it currently operates under a lease from American. Details of the transactions are confidential.

Southwest plans to begin its new service at LGA in May 2014.  Details of the new service will be available later this month.

“We are pleased the U.S. Department of Justice approved our agreement with American Airlines to acquire these slots at LaGuardia,” said Bob Jordan, Southwest’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “This is terrific news for low-fare Customers who want greater access to New York City.”

Southwest and its subsidiary AirTran Airways currently operate 27 daily round-trip flights to and from LGA to eight nonstop destinations. The acquired slots will allow the airlines to add six daily round-trips.

Southwest customers have consistently shown increasing demand for service into the New York City metropolitan airports. Southwest currently serves Newark Liberty International, LGA, and Long Island MacArthur Airport. These six additional round-trips at LGA will strengthen Southwest’s service to and from the New York City area, the company said in a statement issued Thursday.

“We also look forward to bidding on the slots at Washington’s Reagan National Airport that American also is required to divest,” Jordan added.  “That will be conducted as a separate process, and was not a part of this slot bid.”

Meanwhile, the carrier also announced it will close three cities in its network, on June 7, 2014, when it will pull out of Branson Airport (BKG), Key West International Airport (EYW), and Jackson-Evers International Airport (JAN).

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