The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has granted authority to Southwest Airlines subsidiary AirTran Airways to operate between Denver and Los Cabos and revoked the rights on the route held by Republic Airlines.
AirTran had applied to the DOT in November to begin daily service on the route through April 2013, and twice weekly service from May through October, using Boeing 737-700 aircraft. It had urged the DOT then to revoke Republic's authority on the route.
At the time of application, United Airlines, Republic and Republic Airways Holdings' low-cost subsidiary Frontier Airlines held rights to operate on the route. Under the USA-Mexico air services agreement, three US carriers may be designated to provide scheduled foreign air transportation between Denver and Los Cabos.
AirTran had pointed out in its application that Republic had not operated on the route since 14 April 2008 and has no published service through May 2013. Republic had previously stated it will operate the flights under the Frontier branding.
In its decision, the DOT notes that no party had opposed AirTran's request. "We have decided that it is in the public interest to designate AirTran in place of Republic. In this regard, we will withdraw the designation of Republic," it says.
Frontier currently operates nine times weekly between Denver and Los Cabos, while United offers twice weekly flights, schedules in Innovata show.