US Airways pilots request investigation into Delta slot deal

Washington DC
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Pilots at US Airways represented by the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA) have requested an investigation into a proposed slot swap between US Airways and Delta at LaGuardia and Washington National airports.

In an agreement tabled on 12 August US Airways agreed to transfer 125 pairs of its Express slots at LaGuardia to Delta in exchange for 42 of the Altanta-hubbed carrier's slots at Washington National. At the time Delta said the deal would enable it to build a domestic hub at LaGuardia.

In a letter to the assistant attorney general of the US Department of Justice's antitrust division Christine Varney USAPA states its concern about market concentration created by the transaction and highlights burdens placed on New York-based employees of US Airways whose jobs will be eliminated as the carrier downsizes its presence at LaGuardia.

US Airways plans to cut roughly 26 destinations from LaGuardia through the slot trade, which would result in 300 positions being cut at its wholly-owned regional subsidiary Piedmont Airlines.

USAPA also warns the proposed transaction also raises the prospect of much higher fares and, "if history repeats itself, a reduction in service to smaller communities".

Delta and US Airways aim to secure regulatory approval of the proposed swap this year. A slot pair includes both a takeoff and landing right.