(Adds details from order, reaction)
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, March 2 The U.S. Transportation
Department on Thursday proposed awarding 24 slot pairs at Mexico
City’s Benito Juarez International Airport to Alaska Airlines,
JetBlue Airways Corp, Southwest Airlines Co,
Volaris and Grupo Viva Aerobus SAB de CV.
The tentative Mexico City allocations will result in new or
additional low-fare service to 15 U.S. cities, including Chicago
O’Hare, Denver, Houston Hobby, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, San
Diego, San Francisco and Washington-Dulles. Slot pairs are
landing and takeoff slots between two cities.
The department also proposed awarding four slot pairs at New
York-JFK to Interjet, Volaris and VivaAerobus that will provide
new service to Mexico City. The slot pairs were required to be
divested by Grupo AeroMexico SAB de CV and Delta
Air Lines Inc in December as a condition of antitrust
immunity for the airlines' joint venture covering air
transportation between the United States and Mexico.
The Transportation Department last year demanded the slots
to ensure competition, saying it would "allow for new,
competitive entry at these airports that would not otherwise be
Under the tentative award, JetBlue will receive six slot
pairs to Mexico City from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida,
and Los Angeles, while Alaska Airlines will receive four slot
pairs to Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.
"This is a great win for our customers. Greater access will
allow us to offer a better schedule, award-winning service and
lower fares in this market as we grow," JetBlue said.
Southwest will receive four slot pairs to Houston, Fort
Lauderdale and Los Angeles, while Volaris will receive nine
pairs for service to JFK, Los Angeles, Denver,
Washington-Dulles, San Jose and Ontario, California,
Chicago-O'Hare, Oakland, California, and San Antonio airports.
Interjet and Volaris will each get one slot pair at JFK,
while VivaAerobus will get two.
The slots will be awarded in two phases, with 14 Mexico City
slots transferred in 2017 and 10 by 2018, while two JFK slots
will be awarded in each phase. Airlines can file objections
before the decision is finalized.
Last week, Grupo Aeromexico said its board believed Delta's
revised offer to buy an additional 32 percent of its shares was
fair. Delta offered about $590 million.
Delta already has a 4.2 percent stake in Aeromexico and said
in November 2015 it intended to buy the additional stake at a
(Additional reporting by Alana Wise; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama
and Peter Cooney)