The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is set to reassign 16 peak afternoon and evening runway times that were earlier operated by Southwest Airlines at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

For addressing competition-related issues at EWR, DOT is now seeking applications from US low-cost carriers or ultra-low-cost carriers.

US transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg said: “This decision to open up access at Newark means lower fares and more choices for the travelling public.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to promoting competition, lowering costs for Americans and protecting consumer choice, which is exactly what this step will help do.”

Last year in September, DOT issued a notice proposing this reassignment to open up extra Newark landing slots.

On the basis of the comments obtained in response to its proposal, DOT will consider applications in search of less than the full slate of 16 timings if no carrier files an application for all 16 that sufficiently addresses the selection criteria.

This action is taking place in response to the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit’s decision in Spirit Airlines v DOT.

The development is also expected to meet President Biden’s Executive Order aimed at encouraging competition in the country.

Last year in September, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved two contracts for the construction and management of a Southwest Airlines maintenance centre at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) in the US.