JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and US Airways have filed comments on the others' applications for a single slot pair at Ronald Reagan Washington National airport.
JetBlue is seeking the slots for a flight to Jacksonville with continuing service to San Juan, Puerto Rico, Southwest for Houston Hobby and US Airways for Oklahoma City. Spirit Airlines returned the slots to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) when it shifted its operations in the Washington DC region to Baltimore-Washington airport.
JetBlue claims that its proposed service would address the "dominance of US Airways" at Washington National, where the latter has a more then 50% market share and a monopoly on services to Jacksonville, according to a regulatory filing. It also claims that Southwest's proposed service is not "eligible" for the slots because Hobby and nearby Houston Intercontinental are considered a single, large hub market by the DOT.
The slots must be used for service to a medium hub or small city, according to DOT guidelines.
Southwest claims that its slot would lower fares and stimulate traffic in the Houston-Washington market, which it calls one of National's "largest and most over-priced monopoly markets", in a DOT filing. It also points out that of the three applicants it has the fewest slots at the airport - 30 compared to JetBlue's 36 and US Airways' more than 470.
US Airways claims that both JetBlue and Southwest are overstating the price and traffic benefits of a single new round-trip to National. "Both carriers slavishly believe their own rhetoric: that a single new flight will somehow revolutionise air service," says the airline in a filing.
The carrier indicates that Oklahoma City is the largest city within National's 2,000km (1,250 mile) perimeter without nonstop flights as well as the only one of the three proposals without existing service.