Spirit Airlines is suing U.S DOT for Southwest Airlines’ flights at Newark
Spirit Airlines filed a case against the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for access to Southwest Airlines’ former flights at Newark Liberty International Airport. The suit stems from the decision made by DOT last October 2 which is not to reallocate the 16 landing and take-off rights held by Southwest Airlines, a Dallas based carrier, to other airline companies.
The regulator was able to state its concern that there’s congestion at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), especially during peak seasons. In response to this, Spirit Airlines, a South Florida-based carrier said that the decision is arbitrary and capricious. It falls on an abuse of discretion and not following the stipulated law. The lawsuit was then filed on November 25 with the U.S. District Court of Appeals. Also, it has asked the court to make the necessary actions and review the move. It aims to gain more access to the New York area airports by summer 2020 which is the peak season of travelers.
According to Erik Hofmeyer, the spokesman of Spirit Airlines, the DOT has spoken and it decides to retire the landing rights that were previously operated by Southwest Airlines. With this, United Airlines holds around 80% of the authorizations on the said airport which is known to be one of the busiest airports in the country.
The DOT was able to cap the number of take-offs and landing at 79 per hour which according to the governing body is scheduled facilitated rather than slot controlled. With such a decision, the carriers are expected to comply and must work with each carrier to accommodate certain flights scheduled across the day. it may also ask an airline flight to move a flight out especially during a peak period. This is to keep operations and meet the hourly cap.
The said decision also allows to have a new competition at the airport and also to provide more flexibility. What’s more important is that it is not supposed to block smaller carriers from growing or much worst, taking over others’ carrier’s flights like in the case of Newark. To give you an idea, the said airport was previously on slot controlled not until 2017 when the DOT decided to downgrade it to a schedule-facility airport. The deadline for the first replies and motions in Spirit Airlines’ suit against the DOT is scheduled on January 2, 2020.