Discount carrier Allegiant Air has won approval from U.S. Department of Transportation to launch flights to various U.S. cities from Newark Liberty International Airport starting November 2016. The domestic destinations to be served include Knoxville, Asheville, Savannah and Cincinnati. The flight tickets are already up for sale now.
Media reports said that with the approval Allegiant Air has become the first discount carrier to launch new routes from Newark Liberty ever since United Airlines, dominant carrier at Newark Liberty, was charged in a federal lawsuit of keeping the rivals out and subsequently monopolizing landing and takeoff slots. The flights to the new destinations would be operated twice daily during the morning hours from Terminal B of Newark Liberty.
It may be recalled that Allegiant Air was one of the low-cost carriers which filed an application complaining to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx during last fall and alleged that United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines were behind the constant increase in airfares at the airports in New York area by virtue of controlling majority of landing and takeoff slots.
The U.S. Justice Department in a lawsuit last fall had alleged that nearly 900 of the roughly 1,200 slots were being controlled by Chicago-based United Airlines at Newark Liberty. The airline was thus controlling more than 10 times the number of slots in comparison to any other airline. Above all, the slots in the airline’s possession were also not being fully utilized. United Airlines had in April this year said that it was abandoning its plans for purchasing 24 additional slots at the airport from Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines.
Incidentally, it was during April itself the news of more slots being opened up at Newark Liberty by the Federal Aviation Administration came. This was done by relaxing hourly limits on departures and arrivals, which was in vogue during 2008 for reducing delays. Travel experts are now hoping that Newark Liberty would see a significant decrease in airfares with the arrival of Allegiant Air and other low-cost carriers.