23 NOVEMBER 2015

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Article from BTNews 23 NOVEMBER 2015

Slots tussle at NY

The US Justice Department has blocked United and Delta from trading take-off and landing slots at New York JFK and Newark Liberty International airports.

It claims the deal would increase United's dominant position at Newark, making it harder for other airlines to compete.

United already controls more than 70% of the traffic in Newark following its merger with Continental. Airfares from the airport are among the highest in the US, according to the Justice Department, as a result of what it called a “Newark premium”.

United had said it was intending to move out of JFK, where it hasn't made a profit for the past seven years, and focus on Newark instead. 

As a result, it planned to lease 22 slots from Delta at Newark in exchange for 24 slots at Kennedy.

The Justice Department said competition in Newark was in critically short supply and allowing United to acquire even more slots there would fortify the carrier’s monopoly position.

That would weaken rivals' ability to challenge that dominance, leaving consumers to pay the price, the statement added.

United says the agreement would be good for passengers and is promising to defend its case “vigorously”. www.united.com www.delta.com

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