MIAMI — Southwest confirmed it had won 54 slots at Washington DC’s Reagan National Airport (DCA) on Thursday. The carrier had bid on up to 104 slots that newly merged American Airlines and US Airways were forced to give up as part of their merger settlement with the Department of Justice late last year.
The airline did not specify what destinations it was considering, the cost of acquisition, or really any other details. It said that it plans to release further information “later in the quarter”, and to begin utilizing the slots in the third quarter of 2014. Southwest currently operates 17 flights in and out of capacity controlled DCA, and once the sale of the slots is completed will bump up to 44 daily departures.
The Dallas-based carrier has already gained handsomely from the merger-related divestitures around the country, sweeping up six slot pairs at the also oft-coveted and capacity controlled New York LaGuardia. It also gained five that SWA had formerly leased from American, another part of the settlement agreement.
Earlier in the morning rival carrier JetBlue announced it had provisionally been awarded twelve DCA slot pairs. Between the two, that leaves only five slot pairs for the remaining bidders. It is expected that a smaller carrier is likely to receive them.