Virgin America looks to acquire Dallas Love Field gates

March 5 Wed Mar 5, 2014 9:57am EST

March 5 (Reuters) - Virgin America said on Wednesday it was planning to bid for two gates at Dallas Love Field airport that American Airlines Group Inc has agreed to shed as part of its merger agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

San Francisco-based Virgin America, a carrier in which Richard Branson's Virgin Group holds a minority stake, said the gates would be used to add new services from Love Field to airports such as New York's LaGuardia, Ronald Reagan Washington National and Chicago O'Hare.

Virgin America added that if its bid was successful, it would move its operations at the larger Dallas Fort Worth International Airport to Love Field.

Southwest Airlines, the dominant carrier at Dallas Love Field, and Delta Air Lines have also expressed interest in the two gates at Love Field, an airport that is closer to the downtown area than DFW.

American Airlines declined to comment on the gate divestitures.

American Airlines' former parent AMR Corp and US Airways Group agreed to give up takeoff and landing rights at Reagan National and New York LaGuardia last year to settle an anti-trust lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department seeking to block their merger.

The companies, which merged in December to form American Airlines Group, were also required to shed gates at Dallas Love Field and airports in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Miami as part of the settlement.

Virgin America successfully bid for some takeoff and landing slots at Reagan National and LaGuardia that American is divesting.