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U.S. proposes awarding five air carriers new Mexico City slots

WASHINGTON March 2 (Reuters) - The U.S. Transportation Department on Thursday proposed awarding 24 slot-pairs at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport to Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways Corp, Southwest Airlines Co, Volaris, and Grupo Viva Aerobus SAB de CV.

The tentative allocation of 24 slot-pairs at Mexico City will result in new or additional low-fare service to 15 U.S. cities, including Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston Hobby, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington Dulles.

The department also proposed awarding four slot-pairs at New York-JFK to Interjet, Volaris, and VivaAerobus that will provide new service to Mexico City. The slot-pairs were required to be divested by Grupo AeroMexico SAB de CV and Delta Air Lines Inc in December as a condition of antitrust immunity for the airlines' joint venture covering air transportation between the United States and Mexico.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)