Yesterday, January 30, Southwest filed an answer with DOT following up on our application for additional slots to increase our service to Mexico City (MEX). Today, U.S. low-cost carriers (LCCs) have virtually no access to Mexico City International Airport, the largest airport in Mexico, where Mexican LCCs have nearly 100 times as many flights. We believe newly available Mexico City slots should be granted to U.S. LCCs as a first priority due to this disparity. Southwest has consistently taken this position before the DOT for almost two years, dating back to the previous administration. Our filing has nothing to do with politics and has everything to do with a desire to serve more people in the United States and Mexico.
Some further background on this filing:
As a condition of granting the Delta-Aeromexico alliance immunity from U.S. antitrust laws, the U.S. DOT is requiring those two carriers to divest 24 Mexico City slot pairs to low cost carriers. Both U.S. and Mexican carriers can apply.
Three U.S. carriers (Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue) and two Mexican carriers (Volaris and VivaAerobus) have applied for a total of 31 MEX slot pairs. Southwest is requesting just 4 slot pairs (2 for HOU, one each for FLL and LAX).
In total, Mexican LCCs already have nearly 100 times more slots at Mexico City than U.S. LCCs. U.S. LCCs hold only 2 MEX slot pairs in the slot-controlled hours whereas Mexican LCCs hold 193 slot pairs.
In its Answer submitted to DOT on Monday, Southwest argued that all of the U.S. carrier slot applications should be granted first because of the huge advantage the Mexican carriers already have at MEX. The remaining slots should go to the Mexican carriers.
Under Southwest’s proposal, U.S. carriers would receive 14 slots, 60% of the total; Mexican carriers would receive 10 slots, 40% of the total.
Southwest believes that the DOT should prioritize U.S. carrier access to Mexico City in this case in order to partially rectify US carriers’ current minimal share as well as to increase competition and travel options for consumers.
Our goal is to increase our service to Mexico and provide more flights to Mexico City than we do today. We’re all about connecting people to what’s important in their lives, and we see MEX playing a big role in doing just that.