Destination New York City: Delta Grows at La Guardia

17 Dec

Delta said by summer it will operate 264 daily flights between New York’s popular business airport and more than 60 cities, an addition of more than 100 flights and 29 destinations. Delta already carries the most passengers to and from La Guardia, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data, with a passenger share of nearly 22% in the year ended in September. The next largest operator is AMR Corp.’s American Airlines, with a 16% share.

With an 116 additional pairs of slots—takeoff or landing appointments—at congested La Guardia, Delta said it will control nearly half the daily flights.

The Atlanta-based carrier, the nation’s No. 2 by traffic, said it will add nonstop flights from La Guardia to new business markets, augment its daily flight schedule to others and substitute jets on routes now served by turboprop planes.

Delta will invest $140 million to update and expand two terminals at La Guardia, build a connecting bridge between them and add another Delta Sky Club.

The La Guardia buildup and Delta’s continuing expansion at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport “really position Delta as the leading airline in New York,” Chief Executive Richard Anderson said at a media briefing on Friday in Manhattan.

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Delta operates 140 daily flights to 80 destinations from JFK, where it is the second-largest domestic carrier after JetBlue Airways Corp., DOT statistics show.

United Continental Holdings Inc. is the leading airline at the New York area’s third big airport, located in Newark, N.J., with more than half the traffic. And even with Delta’s expansion, United said it still will offer the most seats departing from the area’s three major airports, the most daily flights and the most destinations.

Delta’s New York expansion comes at a delicate time for American, which filed for bankruptcy-court protection two weeks ago and is beginning to trim its operations as it embarks on the restructuring. American now controls 21% of the La Guardia slots, making it a distant second to Delta at that airport.

American’s JFK passenger share is 17%, well below JetBlue’s 39% share and Delta’s 21%. Since 2010, JetBlue and American have had a limited partnership at JFK, offering their customers “interline” service that allows one-stop booking and check-in and automatic bag transfers on some connecting flights to a number of destinations where they don’t compete.

Delta and US Airways earlier this week closed on a long-delayed agreement to transfer slots at La Guardia and Washington’s Reagan National Airport. After meeting the DOT’s requirement that they give up 16 slot pairs at La Guardia and eight at Reagan, the two made the trade. Delta netted the La Guardia slots and US Airways landed 42 pairs of slots at Reagan, along with route rights to fly to São Paulo, Brazil, and $66.5 million from Delta.

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US Airways already has a strong position at Reagan and will use its new slots to add to its service there.

The Justice Department also reviewed the slot-swap transaction on antitrust grounds and found no harm in Delta’s receipt of slots. But the department is continuing to examine whether the deal will hurt competition at Reagan, a spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204553904577102530692435806.html

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