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Thu, Nov 20, 2008

Southwest Airlines Seeks Rights To Operate At LGA

Places Bid To Purchase Slots Held By Bankrupt ATA

Southwest Airlines confirmed this week it has submitted a bid that would allow the airline to assume ATA Airlines' rights to operate at New York's LaGuardia (LGA) Airport through a purchase of ATA Airlines.

The bid was submitted in connection with the publicly announced auction process in the US Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis. The airline says its bid is "consistent with the Federal Aviation Administration's recent rule clarification regarding LaGuardia's slots."

Southwest is working with ATA Airlines with respect to the terms and conditions of the bid, which stipulates only that Southwest be allowed to acquire ATA's 14 slots at LaGuardia. It does not state Southwest would operate its now-defunct former codeshare partner -- which filed for bankruptcy April 2 -- or acquire any of its assets.

Each slot represents one runway operation... so 14 slots would allow Southwest to operate up to seven daily roundtrip flights at LaGuardia.

"It is our intent, with the successful conclusion of the transaction, to make plans to initiate service from LaGuardia," said Southwest's Chairman, President, and CEO Gary Kelly. "Even in this volatile environment, we have said we must monitor the competitive landscape and take advantage of prudent market opportunities."

The bankruptcy court must approve the bid and a reorganization plan for ATA Airlines before Southwest could gain the rights to ATA's LaGuardia slots.

FMI: www.southwest.com/

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