Delta wants US Air, American's DC flights

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Delta Airlines is eyeing flights to Washington, D.C.'s Reagan Washington National Airport that are being given up by U.S. Airways and American Airlines in the companies' settlement with the Department of Justice over its proposed merger.

The Justice Department is requiring U.S. Air and American to give up 52 of its currents flights to Reagan National in exchange for dropping its lawsuit to stop the companies' proposed merger.

Delta said Tuesday that it was pitching itself to replace the airlines at Washington's closest airport, where flight service is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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"Delta welcomes the settlement agreement and looks forward to the opportunity to acquire slots that will be divested under the agreement, particularly at Washington-Reagan National Airport," Delta said in a statement. "Delta is the airline best positioned to continue competitive nonstop flights from Reagan National to small- and mid-sized cities that could otherwise see service reduced or eliminated, which should be a strong consideration in the divestiture."

The FAA regulates flights at Reagan Airport and New York's LaGuardia Airport to monitor airplane traffic in the busy Northeast airspace, which is each home to three major airports.

Reagan Airport is popular with members of Congress and their staffers because it is the closest airport to Capitol Hill.

JetBlue and Southwest Airlines have already also expressed interest in picking up flights to Reagan National that will be relinquished by U.S. Air and American.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Justice Department's settlement with U.S. Air and American would boost the presence of lower-cost flights at Reagan National.

“This agreement has the potential to shift the landscape of the airline industry," Holder said in a statement. "By guaranteeing a bigger foothold for low-cost carriers at key U.S. airports, this settlement ensures airline passengers will see more competition on nonstop and connecting routes throughout the country."

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