Southwest, JetBlue and Alaska vie for Mexico City slots

Three U.S. and three Mexican carriers have applied for the slots that Delta and Aeromexico must surrender under the terms of the antitrust immunity approvalthey received from the Department of Transportation in December.

Twenty-four of those slots are at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez Airport and four are at New York Kennedy. In exchange for approving the Delta-Aeromexico alliance, the DOT ruled that those landing rights must be redistributed to low-cost carriers to bolster competition.

The U.S. applicants for the slots are Alaska Airlines, Southwest and JetBlue. Alaska has applied for four Mexico City slots for twice-daily service from Los Angeles and once daily from San Francisco and San Diego.

Southwest also applied for four Mexico City slots. The carrier would use them for two daily roundtrips from Houston Hobby and one each day from Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles.

JetBlue applied for six Mexico City slots with the hopes offering twice-daily service to the Mexican capital from Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Los Angeles.

Volaris, Viva Aerobus and Interjet are the three Mexican carriers that put themselves into the slot pool. Between them, the carriers applied for 17 Mexico City slots and five slots at Kennedy. Each of the applications for Kennedy slots are for flights to Mexico City.

From Mexico City, the carriers are vying to serve Chicago, Houston Bush Intercontinental, Oakland, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Denver, San Jose and Ontario, Calif.

Viva Aerobus applied for a total of 11 slots, Volaris applied for 12 and Interjet asked for just one.

The DOT said it would select the applications that provide the maximum competitive benefit at each airport. The slots will be turned over to the chosen carriers in two phases. Fourteen Mexico City slots and two Kennedy slots will be for flight operations that are to commence this summer.

The remaining 10 Mexico City slots and two Kennedy slots are to go toward flights that would begin in the summer 2018.

The DOT expects to award the slots by May 17.

Originally published in Travel Weekly by Robert Silk /

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