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Back in January, American and US Airways announced that they would be divesting 52 slot pairs at Reagan National DCA Airport as part of their settlement with the Department of Justice, and it looks like we now know who won the bidding process to pick up the extra spaces: Southwest.
The airline said that it had won an auction for 54 slots at DCA and is prepping a new schedule of 27 additional roundtrip routes to/from the airport. It currently operates 17 daily roundtrips, so this is a big bump in business for the airline, which has a strong hold on the nearby Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Airport as well.
Southwest’s new routes from DCA will be:
- Chicago Midway (MDW): Six daily round-trip flights begin August 10, expanding to nine daily flights on September 30
- Nashville (BNA): Three daily round-trip flights begin August 10
- New Orleans (MSY): Two daily round-trip flights begin August 10
- Tampa (TPA): Two daily round-trip flights begin September 30
- Akron-Canton (CAK): One daily round-trip flight begins November 2
- Dallas Love Field (DAL): One daily round-trip flight begins November 2
- Indianapolis (IND): One daily round-trip flight begins November 2
The carrier also plans to add flights on existing routes between DCA and Houston Hobby and St. Louis; for the latter, two non-stop connections are planned. The airline will add one daily round-trip flight to Los Angeles on June 8 and one to San Francisco on September 30. By the end of 2014, Southwest plans to operate a total of 44 daily departures to 14 destinations from DCA.
The other big winner at DCA is JetBlue, who was leasing 8 slot pairs from American at the airport and now gets to keep those, plus it gained an additional 12, so they are going to have a much bigger presence at the airport as well going from 18 daily flights to 30.
In terms of American/US Airways, the merging airlines will end service to:
Ft. Walton Beach, FL
Little Rock, AR
Myrtle Beach, SC
San Diego, CA (this flight will be shifted to LA)
However, they plan to add a second daily nonstop flight between DCA and Los Angeles by shifting US Airways’ current San Diego flight to LA instead.
So there are a lot of big changes coming to DCA and there are bound to be some operational headaches ahead, but hopefully with more competition will come lower fares. Any of you readers who fly out of DCA – what are your thoughts on the changes coming down the runway?