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US: United, Delta seek dismissal of antitrust lawsuit over Newark slots

 |  January 13, 2016

United Continental Holdings Inc and Delta Air Lines Inc asked a federal judge to dismiss a US Department of Justice lawsuit seeking to stop United from expanding its large presence at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

The Justice Department in November challenged Delta’s agreement to lease 24 Newark takeoff and landing slots to United, in exchange for United’s agreement to lease 30 slots to Delta at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Antitrust officials said this could hurt competition among carriers in Newark, while boosting fares for the 35 million passengers already using that often-congested airport each year.

But in a filing on Tuesday in the federal court in Newark, United dismissed government concerns as speculative, and said the swap might aid competition if it followed through on its plan to add flights on new and popular routes.

The government “can only guess what United, Delta, and any other airlines will do” at Newark, United said.

In a separate filing, Delta said the Justice Department should not overrule the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration, which it said have primary oversight of slot assignments and whose rules aimed at improving safety and efficiency would permit the swap.

Full content: Reuters

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