Delta and US Airways have advised the US FAA they have no plans to proceed with a slot swap transaction that the regulator approved earlier this year that placed restrictions on the agreement, and have officially appealed the agency's decision through the courts.

Almost a year ago the two carriers announced the agreement that entailed US Airways agreeing to transfer 125 pairs of its Express slots at New York's LaGuardia airport to Delta, which would result in Delta transitioning the airport into a hub. In turn, Delta agreed to transfer 42 pairs of its slots at Washington National airport to US Airways.

Regulators in February issued a tentative approval requiring the carriers to divest 14 slots at Washington National and 20 slots at LaGuardia to incumbent or new entrant carriers to strengthen competition at the airports to offset potential harm caused by the proposed transaction.

In March Delta and US Airways proposed a transaction that included fewer slot divestitures than required by the government in its tentative decision.

Finally in May the FAA upheld its initial decision and the carriers were obligated to advise the agency by 2 July if they intended to execute the agreement with the stipulations required by the agency.

The carriers have informed FAA they have no plans to move ahead with the proposed slot agreement under the restrictions, and have also filed an appeal with the US Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to set FAA's order aside.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker recently characterized the FAA's decision on the slot swap proposal as "stunning", and a "disturbing set of affairs".

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news