There is a rule prohibiting operations beyond 1,500 miles from New York/LaGuardia (with limited exemptions) today. How would the airlines feel if the rule were eliminated, something that would be permissible if McCain’s legislation goes through?
Supporters of Eliminating the Rule
US Airways will once again be a strong supporter here. They have a tremendous number of slots at LaGuardia and minimal presence at the other New York airports. With the ability to fly from LaGuardia to the rest of the US, US Airways could become a much bigger player.
United may not want the rule lifted in DC but they’d be crazy not to want it lifted here. At JFK, United only flies puddle jumpers down to Washington and transcontinental flights to LA and SF. With this rule gone, United could effectively shutter its JFK operation and consolidate at LaGuardia if it so chose.
American’s large JFK operation might make them think twice about lifting the perimeter rule, but they have a very strong operation at LaGuardia as well. The opportunity for them to be even more convenient in the race for JFK supremacy with JetBlue and Delta should be welcomed.
Delta is in the same boat as American. They have a large JFK operation but a large LaGuardia operation as well. They could better serve New York if the rule is gone, though there are pluses as minuses for them, as there would be for American.
Similar to its Washington situation, AirTran might like to be able to use its slots for long haul, but it’s not going to be a big issue.
Opponents of Eliminating the Rule
Continental probably has the most to lose here. They operate a very business-friendly operation out of Newark, but if LaGuardia opens up, it makes it much more convenient for many in New York. Continental doesn’t have a big operation on that side of the city, so it would likely lose here.
JetBlue would probably also lose but not to the same extent. They have some LaGuardia slots, but as a primarily leisure airline, the convenience factor isn’t as important as price. There would be some defection and little upside, so they shouldn’t be in favor of it.
Indifferent to the Rule
Southwest has finally wedged its way into LaGuardia, but I can’t imagine them wanting to use those slots for long haul. They may oppose the rule based on principle alone (see: Love Field in Dallas), but it shouldn’t really be a big game changer for them.
Alaska is unlikely to care very much about this. They fly from Newark now and yes, they might like to fly from LaGuardia if this went through, but I don’t see it as being that important for them.