May 12, 2014 / 9:36 PM / in 4 years

Virgin America's lease of Dallas airport gates approved

May 12 (Reuters) - Virgin America has won approval from the City of Dallas to sublease two gates at Love Field airport that American Airlines Group is giving up under its merger agreement, the city manager said in a statement on Monday.

The U.S. Justice Department required American and US Airways to shed assets at various airports including Love Field to settle antitrust concerns over their merger, which was completed in December. Justice had earlier approved the acquisition of the two Love Field gates by San Francisco-based Virgin America.

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to bring new competition to Love Field, an important airport for travelers because of its proximity to the city’s central business district,” Virgin America Chief Executive David Cush said in a statement.

Virgin America, in which Richard Branson’s Virgin Group holds a minority stake, plans to offer flights between New York’s LaGuardia, Ronald Reagan Washington National, Los Angeles and San Francisco airports and Love Field in October. It plans to move its current operations at the larger Dallas Fort Worth International Airport to Love Field.

Southwest Airlines Co, which controls 16 of 20 gates at Dallas Love Field, and Delta Air Lines had also sought to acquire the two gates. Southwest said in a statement that it was “very disappointed.” Delta did not immediately provide a comment.

Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Leslie Adler

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