US Airways CEO wants to hang on to American Airlines' slots at Reagan National airport

| Friday, March 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker said on Thursday that his company's pending merger with American Airlines doesn't need to surrender slots at Washington's Reagan National airport, despite complaints from competitor JetBlue.

Parker told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce aviation summit that while the merged company would control two-thirds of the slots at Reagan, it would control only 25 percent of the slots in the Washington region with Dulles and Baltimore airports.

“This isn't something that the Department of Justice should rule on as a matter of law,” said Parker, who would run a newly combined airline.

The proposed merger, which would generate the world's biggest airline, won approval on Wednesday from a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in New York, where American had been reorganizing under Chapter 11. It must get the blessing of the Justice Department, which will look at competitive, antitrust issues before the two carriers can be combined.

Parker said it would be bad for smaller communities if a newly merged American airline were forced to give up Reagan slots.

JetBlue Airways CEO David Barger has argued against allowing the merged airline to continue to hold its slots at Reagan, which is across the Potomac River from the nation's capital.

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