Virgin America A320
Virgin America confirmed it has gained four new slot pairs at Washington National Airport (DCA) as part of the American Airlines/US Airways divestiture required by the carriers’ settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
DOJ agreed to drop its lawsuit against the American-US Airways merger if the airlines divested 52 DCA slot pairs. Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways previously confirmed they had won a combined 47 of the 52 slot pairs.
The four DCA slot pairs going to Virgin America are believed to the final pairs available as part of the divestiture. Though one slot pair has not been officially confirmed, The Dallas Morning News has reported it is a weekend-only slot pair won by Southwest.
Details of the bidding process for the divested slots have been kept confidential. Spirit Airlines said it bid for some of the slot pairs, but was not willing to pay as high a price—not known—that was bid by Southwest, JetBlue and Virgin America.
San Francisco-based Virgin America currently operates a daily flight between DCA and San Francisco. It also operates flights between Washington Dulles (IAD) and San Francisco and between IAD and Los Angeles. It said it will announce how it will use the four new DCA slot pairs at a later date.
Virgin America president and CEO David Cush said in a statement, “The opening of access to these sought-after public assets is an infrequent occurrence at best, and the latest opportunity allows us to significantly expand our network.”