JetBlue, WestJet win slots at LaGuardia and National

JetBlue and WestJet were the winners of the auctions for landing slots at New York City‘s LaGuardia airport and Washington, DC‘s National airport according to reports. JetBlue had made it clear that they intended to bid on the slots and their win there is not particularly surprising. WestJet is a slightly bigger surprise (and only won at LaGuardia); the carrier appears ready to attack the "golden triangle" commuter traffic from Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal to New York.

On the JetBlue side there isn’t any particular indication yet of what the routes will be used for (or even an official confirmation that they won). With an equal number in both DC and LaGuardia it would be possible to take on the US Airways and Delta Shuttle operations, though that also seems unlikely; the market doesn’t need a third player in that space. There are enough other routes that could be operated from the two airports which makes Shuttle service seem unlikely. And with $72MM invested in acquiring the slots it seems to make sense that they’re going to want to maximize revenue, not just attack other established markets.

Most surprisingly to some observers is that Southwest apparently declined to bit at both airports. Southwest was the main instigator of troubles with the previous efforts to distribute the slots so their absence from the auction is somewhat surprising. That said, with their purchase of AirTran the need to acquire slots through the auction process was rather diminished.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Given Southwest’s current number of slots at LGA (I don’t actually know how many they have), were they even eligible to bid on those? Ditto at DCA, since they own AirTran and have a controlling interest in those slots.

    1. Agreed that the AirTran buy-out obviated the need to go after the slots for Southwest. They currently hold 28 pairs at LGA and 12 at DCA, I believe.

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