US Airways presses case for DOT approval of Jackson flight from Washington National

Washington DC
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US Airways has urged the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to grant it a slot exemption to operate a new roundtrip flight from Washington DC over Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines, arguing that its proposal's benefits outweigh that of the other two airlines.

The three carriers filed applications to the DOT on 5 March, seeking a slot exemption to operate a single roundtrip between Washington National airport and any medium hub or smaller airport within a (2,012km) 1,250mi perimeter.

US Airways applied to begin nonstop service to Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International airport, while Southwest and Frontier proposed flights to Oklahoma City and Louisville respectively.

US Airways is currently operating nonstop to Jackson on a temporary basis, after it was allowed to do so by the DOT in January. The slots became available after Atlantic Southeast Airlines ceased service between Washington National and Jackson from 2 March. The slots were awarded to US Airways temporarily to ensure that travellers' inconvenience was minimised.

In a letter to the DOT yesterday, US Airways opposed the applications from the two airlines, saying that there is no basis for the slot to be awarded to either carrier.

US Airways says Southwest's application is misleading in stating that a nonstop flight to Oklahoma City will provide connections beyond it, pointing out that many Southwest routes from Oklahoma City connect in only one direction.

It adds that Southwest's service will not stimulate the market and could drive up fares.

As for Frontier's proposal to begin flights to Louisville, US Airways argues that this route is already overserved and that the low-cost carrier has no strategy for growth at Washington National.

Arguing in favour of its proposal to start a flight to Jackson, US Airways says there is currently no nonstop service to the airport from Washington National, and that the service will help serve a small community, unlike Oklahoma City and Louisville which are medium hub airports.