The Department of Transportation has awarded 16 departure and landing slots at Newark-Liberty International Airport in New Jersey Spirit Airlines, a coup for the low-cost carrier given that gates are coveted at one of the New York City metro area’s three major airports.
The news was reported by our sister publication Travel Weekly.
Spirit won the slots over JetBlue Airways. But that only begets a bigger, more important question – will those takeoff and landing slots become JetBlue property if Spirit shareholders vote to be acquired by JetBlue in a special meeting set to be held on Friday, July 8.
Spirit’s stockholders will select between JetBlue’s acquisition or a merger with Frontier Airlines after a nearly five-month saga has played out across the aviation landscape. Spirit has twice delayed the shareholder vote as both of the competing airlines have tweaked and raised their respective offers.
The landing slots at Newark were among 36 open daily takeoffs and departures abandoned by Southwest Airlines when it left the Jersey airport in 2019. Newark is a United Airlines hub, so the DOT limited the bidding for the open slots to low-cost carriers and ultra-low-cost carriers to help balance the competition at the airport. The 20 other slots had already been awarded.
The DOT said that Spirit “is most likely to provide the lowest fares to the most consumers,” hence its selection for the 16 remaining slots.
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