Aviation United requests dismissal of DOJ's antitrust suit By Robert Silk / January 14, 2016 Share 1 -- United Airlines has asked a federal judge to dismiss a Justice Department suit that alleges the carrier is attempting to monopolize service at Newark Airport. In the motion, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, the carrier says that the DOJ’s antitrust complaint fails to meet legal muster because it is based on speculation about events that have not occurred.”The Sherman Act does not deal in speculation. It proscribes agreements and acts of monopolization that result in actual anticompetitive effects and that have actually caused demonstrable injury to competition,” United attorney Mark Lichtenstein wrote, referencing the landmark 1890 statute that regulates anticompetitive business practices.The DOJ filed its suit against United in November, claiming that the carrier is attempting to restrain interstate trade and commerce by dominating landing slots at Newark.Specifically, the suit asks the court to invalidate an agreement that United entered into last June with Delta under which Delta would lease to United 22 year-round Newark takeoff and landing slots in addition to two summer season slots, for $14 million.Also on June 16, United and Delta entered into a separate $14 million agreement under which United is leasing to Delta 24 year-round slots at Kennedy Airport as well as six seasonal slots. Delta has already put those slots to use.Slots, which are takeoff and landing authorizations granted by the FAA, are precious in the New York City metropolitan area, where regulators use them to manage airport congestion. United controls 73% of Newark’s 1,233 daily slots.In its motion this week, United also argued that the case should be thrown out because the lease agreement, if enacted, would not cause irreparable harm, a standard it said applies to antitrust actions. Landing slots gained can easily be divested, United said. Delta, which is also named in the DOJ case, filed a separate motion to dismiss Tuesday, claiming that slot assignments fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation and the FAA.Last January the FAA proposed new slot management rules at the New York-area airports. The proposals, which would take effect next October, would place more stringent use requirements on airlines that control slots and require greater transparency when airlines sell, lease or trade slots.Delta said the DOJ’s narrow interests related to Newark create a “serious conflict” with the governing efforts of the FAA and Department of Transportation.