Competitors seek National Air's D.C. slots

WASHINGTON -- American, America West, Delta, Frontier and United want what National Airlines has -- and one of them may get their wish.

Here's what it's all about: Almost all nonstops out of Washington's Reagan National are limited to 1,250 miles or less. But two years ago, Congress authorized the Transportation Department to award "beyond perimeter" slots for six daily roundtrips that travel further.

National got slots to offer daily roundtrip service to Las Vegas. But it had to stop using them after Sept. 11, and, amid financial difficulties, has not resumed the service since getting permission to do so earlier this year.

The carrier may be forced to give up the slots, and plenty of airlines are eager to get them.

In applications to the DOT this month, US Airways said it wants the slots for Las Vegas service. America West wants them for a second daily Las Vegas flight, American wants them for Los Angeles, Delta for Salt Lake City, Frontier for a second daily Denver flight and United for Los Angeles.

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