Delta and US Airways vie for US-Brazil frequencies

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Delta Air Lines and US Airways have submitted applications for unrestricted US-Brazil frequencies with the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

Atlanta-based Delta wants 14 frequencies to begin second daily flights between both Atlanta and New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) and Sao Paulo Guarulhos this year, and seven to maintain its flight between Detroit and Sao Paulo in 2014, according to its DOT application.

Tempe, Arizona-based US Airways requests seven frequencies to continue its daily flight between Charlotte and Sao Paulo this year and seven to launch a flight between Philadelphia and Guarulhos in 2014, according to its application.

The DOT has 14 unrestricted frequencies available in October, and 14 more in October 2014. There are 63 restricted frequencies also becoming available this year and next, however service to Sao Paulo is excluded from these frequencies.

Delta proposes to begin a second daily flight between Atlanta and Sao Paulo in December, and a second daily between JFK and Sao Paulo before the end of the year, in its filing. The flights would be flown on 210-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.

The carrier says that it needs the additional seven frequencies in 2014 for its Detroit service because it must transfer seven unrestricted frequencies to US Airways by March 2015 under the terms of the carriers' agreement to swap slots at Washington National and New York LaGuardia airports in 2010.

"Delta has a strong commitment to the Latin American market and we want to increase options of travel to and from Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest and most important market for business travellers," says Nicolas Ferri, vice-president of Latin America and the Caribbean at Delta.

US Airways would use the seven frequencies available this year to maintain its Charlotte to Sao Paulo flight, which begins on 9 June with frequencies leased from United Airlines through 2015. The flight will be flown on a Boeing 767-300ER and upgauged to a 258-seat Airbus A330-200 in November.

The carrier would use the seven frequencies available in 2014 to launch flights between Philadelphia and Sao Paulo on an A330-200.

US Airways has the fewest unrestricted frequencies to Brazil of the US mainline carriers. American Airlines has 47, United 35 and Delta 23, while US Airways has the seven that are leased.

American applied for seven 2013 frequencies for a new Los Angeles-Sao Paulo flight and seven 2014 frequencies for a new Chicago O'Hare-Sao Paulo flight on 28 February.

United has yet to file an application requesting frequencies with the DOT.

Airlines will have to negotiate landing and takeoff slots at Sao Paulo with the Guarulhos airport operator, if they are awarded the frequencies. The airport operates near capacity at peak times and has begun an expansion process that will be complete in a few years.

The DOT announced that the additional US-Brazil frequencies were available on 15 March.