Chicago and Los Angeles to make divested American gates common use

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Updated with comments from Miami International airport

Gates that American Airlines is divesting at Chicago O’Hare International and Los Angeles International (LAX) airports are slated to become common use facilities, the airports say.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier plans to give up gates L1, L2a and L2b at Chicago O’Hare and take one preferential gate, instead of three as previously planned, in terminal 3 at LAX, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

American uses the gates at O’Hare and US Airways, which merged with American on 9 December, was scheduled to take preferential use of three gates in terminal 3 at LAX in February 2014 under a lease agreement signed before the merger. US Airways currently operates from three gates in terminal 1 at LAX.

The airline must divest two gates at each airport, as well as at Boston Logan, Dallas Love Field and Miami International, as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in exchange for antitrust approval of the merger.

Chicago says that the gates at O’Hare will be available to other airlines on a common use basis, while LAWA says that the gates at LAX will be available by request to all of the tenants of terminal 3.

Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, US Airways, Virgin America and Virgin Australia operate from terminal 3 at LAX.

Will Ris, senior vice-president of government affairs at American, told Flightglobal on 9 December that it was still trying to “trying to figure out which gates to transfer” at the five airports.

“We know we have to relinquish them and we don’t have any ability to determine who gets the gates,” he said.

Chicago and Los Angeles were two airports where the new American planned to grow.

“We’re going to have to figure out ways to either do more with the gates we have or find ways to grow our facility footprint there,” said Scott Kirby, president of American, in an interview with Flightglobal on 5 December.

American will also give up gates on the centre pier at Ronald Reagan Washington National airport as part of its agreement to divest 52 slot pairs at the airport, according to its Washington DC station director Jay Jay Lavine. She said the airline has not determined how many or which gates it will divest.

Miami International says that American will return two gates in terminal J that are currently used by US Airways but adds that no decision has been made on how those gates will be reallocated.

Boston Logan and Dallas Love Field were not immediately available for comment.