Southwest to Land at LaGuardia

Low Cost Carrier has Eyes on LaGuardia

You're now free to roam the country, or soon could be be if you fly out of LaGuardia. 

Southwest Airlines is forking over some big bucks to land in the Big Apple. The Dallas-based low-fare carrier will pay $7.5 million for bankrupt ATA Airlines' landing slots at LaGuardia Airport, which would raise Southwest's profile in the nation's largest market.

Southwest would get 14 slots, enough to operate seven takeoffs and seven landings per day at LaGuardia.

A U.S. bankruptcy court in Indianapolis will have to approve the purchase before Southwest could move its quirky, no frills operation into NYC. If approved, Southwest would begin flying in and out of LaGuardia next year.

Southwest, the nation's largest carrier by number of domestic passengers, serves Islip Airport on Long Island but does not fly currently into LaGuardia, Kennedy or Newark airports. The closest airport the airline flies out of is TF Green in Rhode Island.

For many years, Southwest has favored less-crowded, secondary airports where it can service planes and get them back in the sky quickly.

ATA and Southwest had been marketing partners, selling seats on each other's flights, an arrangement that netted Southwest about $50 million in annual revenue.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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