A Spirit Airlines jet approaches Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia on February 24, 2021. Spirit Airlines is given an opportunity to expand to Newark-Liberty International Airport, which is closer to New York City. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday, July 5, 2022 that it had granted Spirit rights to 16 takeoff and landing rights in Newark. (AP photo/Matt Rourke, file)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Spirit Airlines is gaining valuable takeoff and landing time that Southwest Airlines is losing at busy Newark-Liberty International Airport near New York City.
The U.S. Department of Transportation said on Tuesday that Spirit at the Newark, New Jersey airport “is likely to offer the lowest fares to most consumers.”
JetBlue Airways — which is embroiled in a bidding war with Frontier Airlines to buy Spirit — was also trying to get 16 available slots, and Alaska Airlines was bidding for four of them.
Southwest acquired take-off and landing rights at the congested airport in 2010 when the Justice Department had to give them to United Airlines as a condition of its purchase of Continental Airlines. United is still the largest airline in Newark. Southwest hired Newark in 2019 to bolster its field service at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
Federal officials restricted take-off and landing rights at major airports in New York and Washington to avoid a gridlock.
The Department of Transportation said Spirit has had to report more information than usual about disruptions to Newark due to concerns about canceled and delayed flights.
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