Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Southwest filing for LGA -- not shocking really

Here is the press release from Southwest this morning about applying to fly from LaGuardia. While others maybe shocked, I am not. Southwest is not Herb's Southwest anymore. They already fly to primary/semi-clogged airports -- SFO (again), LAX, PHL, etc. This is just another one to add to the list, albeit a slot controlled one.

Southwest Airlines Seeks Rights to Operate at LaGuardia Airport

Wednesday November 19, 2008, 8:00 am EST


DALLAS, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southwest Airlines confirmed today that it has submitted a bid that would allow the airline to assume ATA Airlines' rights to operate at New York's LaGuardia (LGA) Airport through a purchase of ATA Airlines. The bid was submitted in connection with the publicly announced auction process in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis and consistent with the Federal Aviation Administration's recent rule clarification regarding LaGuardia's slots.

Southwest is working with ATA Airlines with respect to the terms and conditions of the bid. The bid does not contemplate operating ATA, but it is intended to allow Southwest to acquire the LGA slots.

The $7.5 million bid seeks to obtain the rights to 14 slots at LaGuardia that are currently held by ATA Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy protection on April 2, 2008. Those 14 slots would permit an operation of up to seven daily roundtrip flights at LaGuardia. Southwest would not acquire, as a part of its bid, any aircraft, facilities, or employees of ATA.

"It is our intent, with the successful conclusion of the transaction, to make plans to initiate service from LaGuardia," said Southwest's Chairman, President, and CEO Gary Kelly. "Even in this volatile environment, we have said we must monitor the competitive landscape and take advantage of prudent market opportunities."

The bankruptcy court must approve the bid and a reorganization plan for ATA Airlines before Southwest could gain the rights to ATA's LaGuardia slots.

Once the acquisition is finalized, Southwest will work with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority of New York to commence service at LaGuardia, including acquisition of the necessary airport gate(s) and facilities. Details on the commencement of service or the cities that would be served by Southwest from LaGuardia have not yet been determined.

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