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

Sep 17, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.”

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 Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.