BigPhilNYC From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 4075 posts, RR: 55 Reply 1, posted (4 years 3 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2573 times:
Government approval usually means that the airline has only applied to begin a certain route at a certain time, but they must be approved the slot-time (scheduled time) for a certain airport.
In this situation, for example, DCA is a slot-restricted airport, and the FAA is looking to make sure that the desired times that AirTran would like to operate works for the airport's schedule, in place to control congestion.
Government approval can also pertain to the FAA checking that the airline has all of the necessary paperwork and credentials needed to operate the desired route.
Another aspect of government approval has to do with business transactions. If an airline traded slots or gates with another airline, or if there is a merger, these dealings usually need to be approved to make sure that the business transactions are sound, legal and not negatively affecting the industry as a whole.