Spirit Airlines has won more than a dozen coveted takeoff and landing slots at Newark Liberty International Airport.

The discount airline was competing with multiple carriers for the privilege of providing service at one of the nation's busiest airports.

The U.S. Transportation Department, which regulates takeoff and landing rights to try and prevent gridlock, announced they had awarded the slots to Spirit because they are "most likely to provide the lowest fares to the most consumers" who use Newark Airport.

However, federal regulators are wary of the airline industry's recent mass cancellations and rising delays, and the financial impact it's having on the nation's air travelers.

With that in mind, they announced a condition that Spirit must meet.

"The Department is requiring Spirit, as a condition of accepting the timings, to report additional data on disruptions facing their airline customers and its ability to provide them with accommodations."

If Spirit is unable to provide service without significant and repeated delays and cancellations, the number of positions the airline will be allowed to hold at Newark could be reduced by the DOT.

The slots became available after another discount carrier, Southwest Airlines, cancelled its service to and from Newark.

The Associated Press reported that Frontier Airlines also petitioned to get the 16 available slots, and Alaska Airlines applied for four of them.

Frontier has been locked into a bidding war with JetBlue Airways to buy Spirit.

United remains the dominant carrier at Newark, and used to own the 16 slots that were given to Spirit. The U.S. Justice Department ordered United to give up the slots as a condition of acquiring Continental Airlines in 2010.

Spirit currently flies out of Atlantic City International Airport and recently expanded service to Cancun, Miami and San Juan.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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