US Airways and Delta Air Lines need approval from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) before moving ahead with their slot transaction at New York LaGuardia and Washington National airports.
Earlier this month the US Department of Transportation (DOT) approved the transfer of 132 slot pairs by US Airways to Delta at LaGuardia and 42 pairs by Delta to US Airways at National. The agency also required the divestiture of 16 slot pairs at LaGuardia and eight at National.
US Airways EVP of corporate and government affairs Steve Johnson said during a 27 October earnings discussion in order to firm up the deal LaGuardia airport operator PANYNJ needs to approve the transaction.
Johnson explained US Airways aims to get PANYNJ consent shortly after the carriers acquiring the divested slots are identified. He stated the carrier hopes the auction is complete just before or after the US Thanksgiving holiday.
Delta will receive the proceeds from the Federal Aviation Administration's auction of the slots, said Johnson, since they hold all the slots being divested.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is also conducting its own review of the transaction with a particular focus on how US Airways' enhanced presence at National would affect competition at the airport.
Johnson said US Airways hopes that after 26-27 months of investigating the deal that DOJ completes its examination "in time for closing this year".
In theory US Airways could move forward with the slot swap while DOJ continues its investigation, Johnson carefully stated US Airways has "optionality" in that regard and is evaluating those options.
Pointing to previous remarks made by the carrier, US Airways president Scott Kirby stated the slot swap transaction is worth "$75 million a year for us".
Carrier CEO Doug Parker explained one of the major benefits of the deal is it helps US Airways "get out of unprofitable flying in LaGuardia and put it at a place where have a strategic advantage". He also highlighted additional competition at National through the divestitures.