The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the Miramar, Fla.-based airline earned 16 slots at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), beating both Alaska Airlines and JetBlue for the takeoff and landing rights.
Although Spirit Wins Slots, Future on Their Use is Unclear
The decision was announced on July 5, 2022, after months of speculation on who would earn the former slots held by Southwest Airlines. After the U.S. DOT said the slots would be prioritized for low-cost carriers, JetBlue applied to win all 16, while Alaska Airlines wanted four.
“After reviewing the applications against the decisional criteria announced by the Department, the Department found that Spirit will best be able to provide competition with all 16 timings,” the DOT wrote in a press release. “Consistent with the Department of Justice’s original competition remedy, and is most likely to provide the lowest fares to the most consumers.”
While the slots will be a boost to Spirit and future operations in the nation’s largest aviation marketplace, it will come with additional terms. First, the airline will need to report additional data to the DOT regarding “disruptions facing their airline customers and its ability to provide them with accommodations.” The additional information will allow the government to ensure the discount carrier is working towards their customer commitments, while quantifying the actual cost of disruptions on customers.
Spirit Airlines has not commented on the DOT’s decision to award them all 16 slots, or how they would use them. It is unknown how the slots would be used to expand Spirit’s presence or routes at Newark.
Slot Awards Comes Prior to Merger Decision
The newly awarded slots comes as Spirit considers proposal offers from both Frontier Airlines and JetBlue. While it is unclear how the new slots would affect a merger with Frontier, JetBlue previously announced they would divest slots in both Boston and New York – which could complicate the awarding of the new slots if Spirit decides to move forward with the New York-based airline.
Source: frugal travel guy