Topic of the Week: Who Should Get the LaGuardia Slots?

LGA - New York/La Guardia, Southwest, Virgin America

Reports suggest that the slots American has to sell off at LaGuardia will be bought by Southwest and Virgin America. Do you like that plan? If so, where should they fly? If not, who should have bought them instead?

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25 comments on “Topic of the Week: Who Should Get the LaGuardia Slots?

  1. Im curious to see where VX would fly. Their past would make me think “hey, lets get on the most competitive route we can” which would make me think Chicago and Boston. They might get creative and throw an MCO flight, but b6/DL could try and run them off of it, and not sure if they could have the frequency or crew/airplane scheduling to be committed.

    Southwest needs more slots if it wants to truly be competitive, but with AirTran, they are already growing the station to a healthy size. I expect more MDW, STL, maybe a MCO or FLL

    I wish Jetblue would get them so they could be a true alternative to the legacies for NYC-based business travellers like myself, but even still, its not enough to start a shuttle service, and not sure if 3-4 flights to BOS and DCA are enough to be profitable. Given the likely cost of the slots, may not be worth it for a few Florida flights when they can spend the money to get DCA slots. Would be a great long term bet, but not sure if it will happen…

    1. I too wish Jetblue would have made a play for the LGA slots. I think, though, that they will put all of their chips on DCA. They have built a nice operation from DCA, including ~10X daily service to BOS. The available slots at DCA could allow them to possible double their DCA footprint and get the scale needed to run an even more solid operation there. Will be interested to see as Southwest definitely seems to want to the slots as well even though their foray into Dulles hasn’t been all that successful given their huge presence at BWI.

  2. Well, it looks like Southwest got the slots, which isn’t the worst thing in the world but certainly isn’t the most interesting possibility.

    What will be interesting is what they do with them – increasing service to ATL is one interesting possibility and would actually challenge a market important to Delta, but Puerto Rico (SJU) would be more interesting, since Puerto Rico flights don’t require passport facilities and it would provide a direct flight to a vacation destination, and one of importance to hundreds of thousands of people with family connection to the islands living in the city.

    1. Oops, perimeter rules (which don’t make any sense to me: your runways are so long, airplanes are so loud, and the airport can handle so many passengers, so why provide artificial limits on range?) would make SJU out of the question since it’s 1,608 miles according to – 108 miles longer than restrictions allow. Maybe an extension is possible as happened for Denver, and weekends are still a possibility, but I doubt that’ll happen.

  3. Now with more LGA flights for WN (even though it is just a few more), the question arises about needed updates to the B Concourse of the Central Terminal at LGA (where Southwest and AirTran operate from). It BADLY needs upgrading & more flights/people/congestion can only make it worse during peak hours on that concourse. I don’t know if I have seen every section of LGA, but I believe this is the worst part of that airport (or ANY airport that I have seen). Expansion of Southwest service really requires a serious look at fixing up Concourse B so it can handle the increased crowds.

    1. LGA is a crap hole….the southwest concourse is the worst of them, but no renovlation os going to give you more space for seating. VX could try a dfw/ord/fll trips but that is not their business model.

        1. Actually, you have it reversed. American, United, Southwest, Air Canada, Jet Blue and Spirit occupy the B Terminal at LGA.
          The C terminal is USAir and Delta also occupies Terminal D and the Marine Air Terminal.
          You are probably confusing (as many people do) the GATES in terminal B — United uses the C Gates and American uses C and D gates. I still can’t believe that one of the largest (if not the largest, most visited) location (New York City) in the United States has an airport worthy of third world standards. The Port Authority of New York should have started thinking about redoing it 20 years ago.
          I believe the current plans are to totally revamp LGA – getting rid of old cargo hangars, etc. and be finished by 2020.

  4. According to the Dallas Morning news, this deal has already been done. Southwest is getting 22 slots (good for 11 flights), and Virgin America is getting 12 (good for 6 flights).

    As for destinations, I’m guessing (and only guessing) that Southwest will use its 11 new flights to go to Midway, Baltimore and some other “hubs” including Dallas Love Field when the Wright Amendment is lifted.

    Virgin America’s 6 new flights will likely go to Chicago O’Hare and Dallas / Fort Worth, continuing on to San Francisco and Los Angeles. It could also fly to Orlando or Ft. Lauderdale, then continue to the west coast.

    These are just guesses. But I’m also a bit surprised this happened so quickly and that jetBlue was shut out. It’s always possible that Virgin America could sell its new slots if things don’t pan out.

    1. I wonder if b6 getting shut out was by strategic design. For the new AA, VX may be a smaller threat, even if they use the slots to go to ORD or DFW. At 11 flights, they aren’t stealing Business Pax, but if AA gave b6 a larger NYC presence, then they start to fall further behind. As for WN, they probably bid a lot of money, and aren’t seen as the same type of threat, especially since WN flights dont show up on most travel sites and no F product for premium pax.

  5. Dallas News… US Approves Southwest, Virgin for LaGuardia Slots. Southwest will get to keep the rights for five takeoffs and landings per day that it was already leasing from American and gain enough slots for six more daily flights. Virgin America will get enough slots for six flights per day.

    LaGuardia is still the WORST airport!

  6. I definitely see LGA-MCI/DAL on Southwest. VX is more interesting. I could see DFW/IAH and possibly the Saturday only flights to SFO/LAX if that’s allowed

    I’m waiting for DCA though…that’ll be fun to watch.

    Anyway nice to see the merger going along quickly

  7. dont see Virigin America getting them as a great boon to consumers?
    what about spirit or jetblue – !?! already have an operation there and can put pressure on legacy players and additional routes.
    Chicago, Boston and Florida are already competitive.

  8. VX would have to use flights to CHI/DFW due the range issue unless they are planning on getting equal DCA slots to just run LGA-DCA service. A mix of LGA-BOS LGA-PHL LGA-IAD wouldn’t make must sense and LGA-Florida is over done as it is and do airlines really make money on those routes?

    Should VX really be spending money to get LGA slots instead of trying to make it’s existing service work?

  9. For Virgin’s LGA slots, perhaps just wait and hold them for the right opportunity to present itself which might include either leasing them to WN for $$$ or using them as currency with WN or other carrier for gate access at another slot controlled airport.

    1. Like they are going to do in Salt Lake City with new service SLC and PDX/SJC/LAX/SAN starting next June, plus add another SEA-SLC flight. Guess they’ll start attaching DL closer to their home turf…

  10. Southwest tried BWI a few years ago but didn’t generate decent revenue. I bet they add Dallas Love, Kansas City and New Orleans and maybe some Florida or bump up frequencies. I would personally root for Buffalo but that is highly unlikely. I think Virgin did bid some DCA/LGA slots in the past. If they were to add LGA-Chicago, that would be an interesting route due to lack of competition other than two Spirit flights and some indirect service on jetBlue (JFK) and Southwest (Midway).

  11. Slots are the least of anyone’s problems……..Where are they going to put all these airplanes using these slots ? The real estate at LGA is the issue. You have United using both C and A gates in the main terminal (B). You have AA using the D gates and part of the C gates. AA definitely has the ticket counter space to accomodate USAir employees in terminal B (should they all be joined in that location), but they don’t have enough gates. Are US/AA going to dump more flights to even everything out so that they do everything out of the B Terminal ? I guess DL will continue to monopolize and take over the small gate space still being used by USAir in Terminal C as they (DL) plan to build a bridge between Terminals C and D. Or…….will the Port Authority of NY/NJ wake up and figure it all out ?

  12. I doubt anything too exciting will happen with the slots. Virgin is the only completely new entrant, and honestly they’ll just end up running flights to Chicago likely in order to plug that hole in their network. It’s not like a bunch of mid-sized airports or unusual choices can be made considering the frequency.

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