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FAA will offer Newark slots to low-cost airline, spurring competition for United

Sept. 17, 2021
2 min read
FAA will offer Newark slots to low-cost airline, spurring competition for United
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The Federal Aviation Administration said it will award 16 slots at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), abandoned by Southwest, to a single low-cost carrier, part of an effort to boost competition in United's East Coast hub.

Although Newark is not technically slot controlled, its flight schedules are still regulated — essentially putting takeoff and landing rights operate under a similar set-up. Governments use "slots" to regulate airspace at busy airports and avoid excess congestion, though only a handful of U.S. airports have schedules governed by slots.

In practice, an airline can attempt to control a market by seizing a majority of slots at a given airport, preventing other carriers from establishing a significant presence there. Competition is one factor that the federal government takes into consideration when awarding slots.

The decision to open the slots to a low-cost carrier is part of an effort to spur competition and lower prices for consumers, the Department of Transportation said in a filing, one of the first direct manifestations on the airline industry of the July executive order by President Joseph Biden promoting competition across a variety of sectors.

The Department of Justice issued a statement in support of the move.

“The Department of Justice applauds the Department of Transportation’s efforts to preserve competition from low-cost airlines at Newark airport," acting assistant attorney general Richard Powers said in the statement. "Competition in the airline industry – and at Newark airport in particular – is in critically short supply."

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The proposed rule also stemmed from a lawsuit filed by Spirit Airlines.

Southwest was originally awarded the slots as part of the FAA's approval of the 2013 merger between United and Continental, part of an effort to ensure competition remained at Newark at the time. Southwest, however, left Newark in 2019, consolidating its New York City-area at La Guardia Airport (LGA). Spirit filed the suit against the DOT requesting a review of the slots after the FAA initially indicated that it would not give the slots to a different low-cost carrier.

JetBlue has said it will apply for the slots in order to expand its Newark operation.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023