The Federal Aviation Administration said it plans to award 16 open slots at Newark-Liberty International Airport – one of the big three New York City-area airports – to a low-budget airline in order to create some competition for United Airlines.
United is the dominant carrier at Newark, making the airport its east coast hub.
The 16 open slots were relinquished by Southwest Airlines, according to the aviation blog The Points Guy.
TPG noted that governments use “slots” to regulate airspace at busy airports and avoid excess congestion, though only a handful of U.S. airports have schedules governed by slots. Competition is one factor that the federal government takes into consideration when awarding slots.
Giving all 16 slots to one low-cost carrier would be beneficial to consumers looking for cheaper fares out of Newark.
“The Department of Justice applauds the Department of Transportation’s efforts to preserve competition from low-cost airlines at Newark airport,” acting assistant attorney general Richard Powers said in a statement. “Competition in the airline industry – and at Newark airport in particular – is in critically short supply.”
Southwest was originally awarded the slots as part of the FAA’s approval of the 2013 merger between United and Continental, but Southwest left Newark in 2019 to consolidate its New York City-area flights at La Guardia Airport.
It is not known yet which airline will be awarded the Newark slots.
This article originally appeared on Travel Pulse