Southwest to Buy LaGuardia Slots

Airline's Entry to NYC Requires Approvals

Southwest Airlines said today it plans to start service to LaGuardia Airport next year if regulators approve its $7.5 million purchase of 14 landing slots from the bankrupt ATA Airlines.

"Yes. You read that correctly," as Southwest puts it in the company's blog written by Bill Owen, a Lead Planner in the Schedule Planning Department. "Southwest plans to pursue a bid to start service to LaGuardia Airport. This isn’t just big news, it’s huge. GINORMOUS! I think h-e-double-hockey-sticks just froze over…and I am certain a number of my friends in this industry have yet to pick their jaws up off of the floor!"

The low-cost airline currently flies into Long Island MacArthur Airport , but none of the three primary airports serving New York City.
The company has not yet announced which cities it would fly to from LaGuardia, but airline watchers are putting bets on Chicago, Florida, and Baltimore, according to the travel website NewYorkology .

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

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