There is a small war going on between Frontier and Southwest over the DCA
slots - both within and without perimeter - and it all began with the award of MDW
Frontier made a filing saying it would not object to the award of MDW
to Airtran, but expressing (among other things) disappointment. It's not overly gracious, but enough, and it does concede the issue.. It also makes a couple of digs at Southwest's attitude to Frontier over the various proceedings:
"In this and other limited-authority proceedings, Southwest/AirTran has adopted the mantle of the large legacy airlines, arguing that bigger is better. Southwest/AirTran has indeed become a behemoth legacy airline with all of the attributes of that group, including market dominance and ever increasing average fares. In fact, Southwest proudly boasts that it is now the largest U.S. airline in terms of passengers. But larger isn’t always better."
End of story? No.
(nb: From here on Im using airline info as the source, because some of the docket files are enormous. Airlineinfo.com does the grunt work - you have to register, but it is free)
Airtran responded, objecting to Frontier's acceptance of the DOT decision and taking great umbrage with Frontier's position, which it suggests (perhaps with some justification) has more to do with the DCA
"Normally, a statement by the losing party in a contested route proceeding that it does not object to the Department’s selection of the other party would end the matter, with no need for response. However, in this instance, Frontier took the extraordinary step of using its supposed “non-objection” as a platform for gratuitous criticism of AirTran/Southwest as well as mischaracterization of the Department’s decision. Not only do these statements come with poor grace from the losing party, they have no basis in fact and should be disregarded."
End of story? No.
slot proceedings roll on and Southwest has made a filing taking issue with JetBlue once and Frontier twice:
"Frontier, and to a lesser extent some other applicants, have attempted to discredit Southwest’s DCA-AUS-SAN proposal by claiming that BWI airport, along with DCA, is part of a combined “WAS” market that should be used to evaluate applicants’ proposals in this case (see Frontier’s Consolidated Answer at 13-14 and Exhibit F9-A- 1). This, Frontier hopes, would make Southwest an incumbent in its own proposed market. Frontier raised a virtually identical argument in the pending Department proceeding for allocation of inside perimeter slot exemptions (Docket DOS-OST-2000- 7182), to which Southwest responded in detail in its Consolidated Reply filed on March 29, 2012. "
End of story? No.
Frontier has come back on that one, calling Southwest's an unauthorized filing:
"The Department “establish[ed] an expedited schedule for the application process”, which did not provide for any reply comments because Congress mandated a decision within 90 days of enactment of the FAA Act of 2012. Despite that clear directive, which Frontier respects, Southwest has filed an unauthorized “Limited Response” with a motion for leave to file. If the Department grants Southwest’s motion and accepts Southwest’s unauthorized filing, Frontier hereby requests leave to file this brief response to address the three points aimed at Frontier.
Southwest again argues that the Department should disregard Southwest’s huge presence in the Washington D.C. region, including the fact that it dominates nearby BWI with over 72% of all domestic enplanements.
Second, notwithstanding what it self-servingly proclaims to the Department here, Southwest tells its own customers a far different story about DCA/BWI/IAD, i.e., that DCA, BWI and IAD are reasonable alternatives for service to Washington, D.C. For example, the Southwest Route Map on its website emphasizes (in red and bold):
“These cities on the route map serve as alternative airport locations to the following destinations:
... Washington, D.C. via Baltimore/Washington (BWI).”
Moreover, when a passenger books a flight on www.southwest.com and types in “Wash” as the departure point, Southwest presents the following choices:
Washington (Reagan National), DC - DCA
Washington DC Area Airports -----------------
Washington (Dulles),DC – IAD Baltimore/Washington, MD – BWI
There's a lot more in the same vein and I love all this stuff. It's a lot of sound and fury on both sides, although, like MacBeth, I'm not sure that it signifies very much. I think Frontier is right to make its case - and I'm pleased to see it battling - and Southwest will always respond aggressively - but I don't know how much any of this sways the DOT.
In my ideal world, the DOT would award the within perimeter slots to US to continue service to JAN. However, I think it is possible that won't happen and Southwest will get 'em for OKC
, if only because (a) OKC
than JAN is bigger and has no DCA
service and (b) Southwest is really bringing in the big guns.
I've already said that I think Frontier's chances of COS
are probably fifty-fifty, and while I hope it happens, I am not holding my breath.
But again - and at the risk of throwing a spanner in the works - if Frontier doesn't get COS
, then as a very much secondary choice, it has made an almost impeccable case for COS