Executive management at Delta Air Lines expects to receive regulatory approval for its slot swap with US Airways in New York and Washington by the end of January.

In August of 2009 the two carriers announced a strategic swap 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.

A pair of slots equal one roundtrip flight.

At the time the deal was announced US Airways said the agreement would allow it to grow passenger enplanements at Washington National by 30%-35%, while Delta emphasised it would double the number of destinations it serves from LaGuardia by adding or sustaining flights to 30 small and medium-sized communities.

Today during an earnings call Delta executives explained the US Department of Justice is reviewing the transaction and that "it should come to a head this month". Management says it expects the country's Transportation Department to weigh in within the same time period.

Delta expects a resolution from both agencies by early February, says the carrier.

The airline is also targeting to complete the swaps in June, say executives. They explain if there are delays in gaining approval the date could be pushed back, but currently the carrier believes the June target still stands.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news