Complicating Delta Air Lines' attempt to increase service frequency on its new Detroit-Sao Paulo route by trying to switch the rights to three weekly...

Complicating Delta Air Lines’ attempt to increase service frequency on its new Detroit-Sao Paulo route by trying to switch the rights to three weekly regional Brazil frequencies from its existing Atlanta-Rio de Janeiro service, American Airlines claims Delta is relinquishing the service frequencies and has applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for the right to use them.

On July 26 Delta Air Lines applied to the DOT for rights to three new Rio de Janeiro-specific service frequencies so that it could switch to its new twice-weekly Detroit-Sao Paulo route its existing non-specific authority for three service frequencies it currently uses for some flights on its Atlanta-Rio de Janeiro service.

If the DOT granted the new authority, Delta would be able both to preserve its existing service frequency on the Atlanta-Rio route and increase from twice-a-week to five-times-weekly the frequency with which it would be able to serve its new Detroit-Sao Paulo route.

However, American Airlines says that Delta Air Lines’ application means it is actually relinquishing the three weekly regional Brazil service frequencies as of September 7 and has applied to the DOT to take them over to launch new Dallas/Fort Worth-Rio de Janeiro service.

“If we are granted the use of these soon-to-be-relinquished frequencies then we could begin flying nonstop between Miami and Brasilia on November 18, 2010, as scheduled, and between Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Rio de Janiero (GIG) as well,” says Will Ris, American’s senior vice president – government affairs.

“We previously applied to DOT for three frequencies to serve Rio from DFW, our largest hub, but those frequencies are also being sought by another carrier and a selection proceeding could take months,” says Ris. “By using the regional frequencies on our new Brasilia route, we can reassign Rio-eligible frequencies to the DFW-Rio route. All in all, we believe this use of slots in the Brazil marketplace will ensure that DOT provides for the greatest public benefit. Our new service from Miami to Brasilia will be the first-ever by a U.S. carrier. Miami is American’s largest U.S. gateway to Brazil and to all of South America.”

American Airlines Boeing 767-300ER N363AA is photographed taking off from London Heathrow Airport

On the Miami-Brasilia route, American will fly 182-seat Boeing 757s that accommodate 16 Business Class and 166 Economy Cabin passengers. American will offer easy connections to Brasilia via Miami from more than 40 U.S. cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, San Francisco, San Juan, St. Louis, and Tampa.

American also will begin operating daily service between New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Rio de Janeiro on November 18. This new service is possible because earlier this summer American was awarded the rights to operate 11 new flights between the United States and Brazil. American will use 219-seat Boeing 767-300ERs configured with 28 Business Class and 191 Economy Class seats between JFK and Rio. Passengers can make convenient connections to Rio via Kennedy from a number of major U.S. cities, including Boston, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Raleigh/Durham. Additionally, customers will be able to book convenient, interline service on JetBlue between JFK and 18 U.S. cities including Nantucket, Mass.; Burlington, Vt.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Portland, Maine.

Previously, American applied to DOT for authority to fly nonstop from DFW to Rio de Janiero (GIG) three times a week, beginning November 18, using Boeing 767-300ERs. From DFW, passengers arriving from Rio could make connections to dozens of cities in the Midwest, Southwest, and West with substantial new benefits to passengers and shippers, American claims.

Additionally, American recently entered into a codeshare alliance with Gol, Brazil’s largest carrier, which will offer service beyond both Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia to other cities in Brazil.