US Airways concedes NY/DC slot swap may require court action

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US Airways is "trying to move forward" with a proposed slot swap with Delta Air Lines at New York LaGuardia and Washington National, but admits it "may have to get it done in the courts".

Last year US Airways proposed transferring 125 of its US Airways Express slots at LaGuardia to Delta while Delta agreed to cede 42 slots pairs at National to US Airways. However, the DOT said it would require the carriers to divest 14 slots at National and 20 slots at LaGuardia if they wanted to get the deal done. A subsequent proposal from US Airways and Delta that entailed fewer divestitures was rejected.

Noting that Delta and US Airways do not agree with the DOT's decision, US Airways CFO Derek Kerr said today during a Citi Credit conference that the carriers "have a lawsuit with the DOT to try to modify that transaction.

"What we're trying to do is we're trying to put our assets in the right spots, and where we make the most money. LaGuardia does okay for us, and does well for us, but New York is not our major place. Continental is here. American, Delta, everybody is trying to own New York. So for us, we're doing fine here. The economy is getting better. The business traffic is getting better, so LaGuardia is fine, but it's not our core asset."

Since New York "is not going to be our focal point moving forward", adds Kerr, US Airways would "like to do something with those assets".