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November 07, 2013

Southwest and JetBlue want slots at Reagan and LaGuardia if DOJ requires American-US Airways to give them up for merger approval, Bloomberg says

Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways have told government regulators they are interested in purchasing slots at Washington's Reagan National airport if American Airlines and US Airways are forced to give them up as part of a settlement deal, according to this Bloomberg News report.

Southwest is also talking to the U.S. Department of Justice about slots at New York's LaGuardia airport, the wire service reported.

In its antitrust suit filed in August, the Justice Department said the proposed combined carrier would have almost 70 percent of the take-off and landing slots at Reagan. During hearings about the merger earlier this year, several congressmen expressed concern about the concentration of American-US Airways at the airport closest to the nation's capital.

On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said settlement talks between the airlines and the DOJ were ongoing. A trial is scheduled for November 25 in federal court in Washington D.C.

Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly told investors on the airline's quarterly earnings conference call two weeks ago that the Dallas-based carrier was interested in more slots at Reagan and LaGuardia airports but had not discussed buying those slots with either airline or with the Justice Department.

-Andrea Ahles

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