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Virgin America awarded Dallas Love Field gates shed by American

A Virgin America jet takes off past other aircraft parked at Terminal 3 at Los Angeles airport (LAX), California November 2, 2013. REUTERS/D
A Virgin America jet takes off past other aircraft parked at Terminal 3 at Los Angeles airport (LAX), California November 2, 2013. REUTERS/D

(Reuters) - Virgin America on Friday said it would offer new flights from Dallas Love Field after it was awarded two gates at that airport by the U.S. Justice Department.

San Francisco-based Virgin America, a carrier in which Richard Branson's Virgin Group has a minority stake, said it will start flights between New York's LaGuardia, Ronald Reagan Washington National, Los Angeles and San Francisco airports and Dallas Love Field in October.

American Airlines Group agreed to give up the two Love Field gates Virgin America is receiving to settle a U.S. lawsuit that sought to block its merger with US Airways. Southwest Airlines, which controls 16 of 20 gates at Dallas Love Field, and Delta Air Lines had also expressed interest in the two gates.

Virgin America said it plans to move its current operations at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Love Field in October. DFW is the city's largest airport.

Virgin America recently won takeoff and landing rights at New York's LaGuardia Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport that American Airlines also agreed to divest in the merger settlement. American was also required to give up gates at airports in Chicago, Miami, Boston and Los Angeles under that agreement.

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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