Delta Air Lines and US Airways have received preliminary federal approval of their plan to swap landing rights the two airlines hold at Reagan National Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the U.S. Department of Transportation said Thursday.
The swap deal has been underway for several years, but was delayed by the government’s desire that other airlines be able to buy some landing rights held by the two airlines. Under the deal Delta would give US Airways 42 slots it holds at National in return for 132 slots at LaGuardia. Delta also would pay US Airways $66.5 million.
National slots are in demand because travelers like the airport's close proximity to downtown Washington.
The airlines would be required to sell eight slots at Reagan and 16 slots at LaGuardia to other airlines. A slot allows an airline to land and takeoff an airplane from the airport.