Last month, Alaska, Allegiant, Frontier, Spirit, and Virgin America wrote to the US Transportation Secretary and the Federal Aviation Administration administrator to urge the regulators to update the slot management program at NYC’s EWR, JFK, and LGA airports.

Delta’s executive vice president / chief legal officer has now responded, claiming that the airline worked (and paid) for those slots and that the current process allows for the most efficient use of the spots. He also called into question Virgin America’s inclusion in the complaint as they are currently “not even using all the New York slots that they have”.  The airline is sub-leasing two EWR spots to Porter Airlines and four LGA slots to JetBlue.

Delta states that it began LGA service in 1969 with only six slots and built their portfolio up over time (currently holding 45% of LGA slots and 37% of JFK slots) via deals with Northeast, Northwest, Pan Am, TWA, and US Airways. In total, Delta says that it has taken 46 years and $1.7B to create it’s New York hubs.

“It took 17 years for Delta to acquire its first 60 slots at LaGuardia, we did not pass the 100-slot market there until 1991 when Delta purchased the Pan Am Shuttle.”

Delta says that “the claim that diligent new entrants cannot obtain New York slots is a myth.” The airline points to JetBlue who began JFK operations in 2000 as well as Southwest who now operates at both EWR and LGA.

Virgin responded to the The Street:

Virgin America spokesman Dave Arnold said ” Delta has benefited over multiple decades from favorable slot purchase opportunities that have made it an entrenched incumbent carrier in New York and other airports around the country.” Delta’s specific assertions about Virgin America’s use of its very limited slot portfolio are frankly disingenuous {because} Virgin America has not transferred any of its slots to other carriers.”

When Virgin America leased a package of Newark slots from American, American was already leasing two slots to Porter Airlines. “Virgin America continued to honor the Porter Airlines two-slot lease arrangement, commercially viable slots at LaGuardia are very rarely made available, so we jumped at the opportunity to bid on an all-or-nothing package of slots there, even though we did not yet have any new delivery aircraft available to begin fully utilizing all of the slots at that time.”

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ghostrider5408 December 3, 2015 - 1:56 pm

GEEZ does it ever stop with Delta? From Trickie Dick down their all whiners and they want us to fly them, NOT.

Nick December 3, 2015 - 2:31 pm

Yeah I think the government created the situation that benefits the big 3 airlines by allowing them to merge, it now has to be active in forcing them to give up slots to increase competition.

Matt December 3, 2015 - 7:15 pm

They should stop allowing slots to be used regional jet flights. If an airlines is not going to use mainline aircraft to service LGA/JFK/EWR, then the slot should be made available to another airline that will. If no one wants the slots, then they can go to regional flights.

Ryan December 3, 2015 - 7:30 pm

I think Delta feels over entitied. They feel as though no one else should be allowed to complete with them. So Delta when I say I have flown you for 10 years and earned my status and ability to have 2 seats in Economy Comfort … What do you say to that !? I have PAID my dues. 100s of thousands worth

Aeromexico Board Reviewing Delta Offer - Point Me to the Plane December 8, 2015 - 10:18 am

[…] Delta to Alaska, Virgin America, & Frontier: Quit Complaining, We Paid Our Dues in NYC […]


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