(Adds comment from American, paragraph 4)
April 25 Virgin America said on Friday it would
offer new flights from Dallas Love Field after it was awarded
two gates at that airport by the U.S. Justice Department.
The San Francisco-based carrier said it planned to start
flights between New York's LaGuardia, Ronald Reagan Washington
National, Los Angeles and San Francisco airports and Dallas Love
Field in October.
The gates are being given up by American Airlines Group
as part of its merger settlement.
"The DOJ approved one airline to acquire the gates at Love
Field, and we are working on a sub-lease agreement with Virgin
America," American said in a statement on Friday.
The deal is subject to approval of the City of Dallas, and
Virgin America said it was confident the city would clear it.
American agreed to give up takeoff and landing rights and
gates at various airports to settle the U.S. lawsuit that sought
to block its merger with US Airways. Virgin America recently won
takeoff and landing rights at New York's LaGuardia Airport and
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport that American
Southwest Airlines Co, which controls 16 of 20 gates
at Dallas Love Field, and Delta Air Lines Inc have also
expressed interest in the two Dallas Love Field gates.
In a statement, Delta said designating the two Love Field
gates as "common use gates" managed by the City of Dallas was
the best option for their use.
"While American was bound by its merger settlement with the
Department of Justice to release its gates, any sublease
proposed by American must be approved by the City Council,"
Delta's statement said. "If the City exercises its right to not
approve the sublease, the airport can operate them as common
Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said his company
appreciates "the opportunity afforded by the City Council to
show how the Southwest plan is best" for the use of the two
Virgin America, a carrier in which Richard Branson's Virgin
Group holds a minority stake, plans to move its current
operations at Dallas Fort Worth Airport to Dallas Love Field
should it obtain the gates.
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; editing by Andrea Ricci
and Matthew Lewis)