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Delta Air Lines calls for divestiture expansion after US DOJ move to allow merger

Atlanta USA-based Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) said it has urged the US Department of Justice to consider all airlines including those that serve small- and medium-sized communities in the process for divesting airport slots and assets related to the proposed settlement of litigation challenging the merger of American Airlines (OTC: AAMRQ) and US Airways (NYSE: LCC).

Delta said it would like the opportunity to bid for slots and facilities at Washington-Reagan National Airport as well as Dallas Love Field, where it currently provides competition with daily nonstop flights to its international hub in Atlanta. Without gate access, Delta could no longer provide Love Field service.

The carrier said that small- and medium-sized communities nationwide could experience a reduction or elimination of flights to key airports if the divestiture is limited to low-cost carriers, which typically do not provide service to small communities.

Delta said that its fllet is flexible, including smaller aircraft designed for small markets, and would enable Delta to provide service to small and medium-sized communities from impacted markets, particularly at Reagan National Airport, similar to its operation at New York-LaGuardia, where more than 50% of Delta´s destinations are small- and medium-sized communities.

Other airlines expressing an interest in slots at Reagan National do not operate aircraft which will enable twice-daily flights to most medium-sized cities.

The carrier said it believes that DOJ should not predetermine what communities will receive service with Reagan National slots or Love Fieldgates, and that it shouldn´t exclude any airline from the opportunity to bid for them.

Delta Air Lines serves more than 160m customers each year. Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 314 destinations in 58 countries on six continents.

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