The Department of Justice reached an agreement Tuesday with American Airlines and US Airways to allow their merger to proceed. As part of the deal, the two airlines agreed to concessions that will make it easier for other carriers to fly into some of the nation's busiest airports. The other airlines would like to serve those airports now but are blocked either by government restrictions on the number of takeoffs and landings or by too few available gates.
Dallas Love Field
American will have to give up all of its gates at Dallas Love Field, which is dominated by Southwest. American agreed to sell its two gates, which are currently leased to a Delta Airlines affiliate.
American served Love Field in the past, and executives had said they planned to return after long-haul flight restrictions are lifted in 2014.
Southwest Airlines bankrolled renovation of the Love Field terminal in preparation for long haul service there in 2014. In a statement, Southwest Airlines said it would be interested in acquiring American's Love Field gates.
But aviation attorney Kent Krause said the Justice Department is likely to push for a new Love Field competitor instead of allowing Southwest to gain an even larger share of its hometown business.
"While Southwest holds itself as the little guy and helping the little guy, they've become a very big airline, and they're not inexpensive any more by any stretch of the imagination," Krause said.
Southwest also will compete for slots American is surrendering in Washington, D.C., and New York now that the lawsuit is settled.
"It was something that scared us all a little bit and gladly we've gotten through it," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said.
Rawlings serves on the board of Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport, where American is king, and he helps oversee Dallas Love Field.
"If the Justice Department wanted competition, we're going to have it in Dallas-Fort Worth with American and with Southwest and I think the citizens, employees, shareholders, everybody wins in this situation," he said.
Washington D.C.'s Reagan National Airport
American and US Airways will give up a combined 104 takeoff and landing slots at the airport, located minutes from the nation's capital. Two slots are required to fly a plane in and out of the airport at peak times.
JetBlue Airways will be offered 16 of those slots, which it currently leases from American. The Federal Aviation Administration will distribute the other 88 slots to various airlines. The last time slots became available at the airport in 2011, the FAA auctioned them off to airlines with less than 5 percent of the existing slots. JetBlue paid $40 million for eight pairs of daily slots at National. Sun Country Airlines won service to Lansing, Mich.
As a result, the new American will operate 44 fewer Washington daily departures than the 290 that American and US Airways currently operate.
Allegiant Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines all bid but didn't win slots at National or New York's LaGuardia Airport in the 2011 auction. Tiny Sun Country was awarded one slot at Reagan.
American and US Airways will also forfeit up to five gates at the airport: Gates 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32, if necessary.
The new airline also has to reserve 74 of its existing takeoff and landing slots for flights to small- or medium-sized airports for the next five years. Those will be on planes with 76 seats or less.
New York's LaGuardia Airport
The two airlines will also give up 34 landing and takeoff slots at LaGuardia, the airport closest to Manhattan preferred by business travelers.
Southwest will be offered 10 of those slots, which it currently leases from American. The rest will be allocated by the FAA. During the 2011 auction, JetBlue paid $32 million for eight slot pairs at the airport and Canadian airline WestJet paid $17.6 million for eight slot pairs.
American will also forfeit two gates on Concourse C of the airport's central terminal
In the end, the new American will operate 12 fewer daily departures than the 175 the two airlines collectively operate today.
Boston Logan International Airport
American and US Airways will have to give up two gates at the airport.
Chicago O'Hare International Airport
American will have to reconfigure three of its regional airplane gates: L2A, L2B and L2C. One will be reconstructed to allow larger mainline jets to use it and will be given to another airline. One gate will be removed to allow for the larger planes to use the first one. The third gate will remain a regional gate and continue to be used by American.
Los Angeles International Airport
American will have to give up gates 31A and 31B in Terminal 3.
Miami International Airport
US Airways will give up two gates it currently leases in Terminal J.
American agreed to maintain its historic levels of service at the two airlines' current hub airports: Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport; Los Angles; Miami; O'Hare; Philadelphia and Phoenix.
NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.