Southwest Airlines subsidiary AirTran Airways has applied to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for authority to operate between Denver and Los Cabos, and has requested that the DOT revoke Republic Airlines' authority on the route.
AirTran is requesting to begin daily service from November through April, and twice weekly service from May through October. It plans to operate Boeing 737-700 aircraft on the flights.
In its application, AirTran points out that United Airlines, Republic and Republic's low-cost subsidiary Frontier Airlines hold rights to operate on the route. However, it notes that Republic has not operated on the route since 14 April 2008 and does not have published flights for that service through May 2013.
AirTran adds that Republic has stated it will operate the service under the Frontier branding, but Frontier already holds a separate designation for the route.
Republic has filed to renew its exemption authority on the flight, which was granted by the DOT. Its authority extends through 14 May 2014.
AirTran notes that Republic's previous filings to the DOT related to the route were made without opposition from other airlines.
"Now that AirTran is filing this competing application and is prepared to promptly begin year-round, large jet service in the market, however, a continuation of Republic's authority for yet-to-be-provided 'seasonal/intermittent' service is no longer in the public interest," says AirTran.
Republic was not immediately available for comment.
Frontier operates once weekly between Denver and Los Cabos, while United operates twice weekly on the route, schedules in Innovata show.
Earlier this year, AirTran and Frontier were involved in a heated battle for rights to operate flights between Chicago and Cancun, after slots were given up by charter group USA3000. AirTran ultimately won the rights to launch flights between Chicago Midway and Cancun.