<Adds details of tentative agreement>
Airlines’ current level of service at Dallas Love Field will not be
significantly impacted under today’s tentative agreement to modify the Wright
Amendment between the low-cost carrier, American Airlines and the Texas
cities of Dallas
deal, which still requires US Congressional approval, sets a 20-gate cap at
Love Field, with Southwest reduced to 16 gates within four years of the deal’s
enactment. The remaining four gates will be split between American Airlines and
currently has 14 active gates at Love Field, and an additional seven not
currently in use.
return for agreeing to the gate restriction, Southwest,
should the agreement become law, will be unencumbered by the Wright Amendment restrictions
within eight years after it is enacted. This law currently limits Love Field
carriers to nonstop services within Texas and
the neighboring states of Alabama,
The new deal also allows carriers operating from Love Field
the immediate ability to offer through ticketing to destinations within
Southwest has agreed that international flights will remain prohibited at Love
Field, with those rights exclusively held by Dallas/Fort Worth [DFW],
American’s hub airport.
low-cost carrier had contemplated service to the Caribbean
from its home base. But, in a recent press conference, CEO Gary Kelly noted
that international service “is something that is very
important to DFW airport and [the city of] Fort
and it’s not to us”.
portions of Love Field will be redeveloped - with a minimum investment of $150
million coming from the city of Dallas - gates constructed
by defunct operator Legend Airlines in 2000 will be demolished by Dallas upon
the city’s acquisition of the lease “to ensure the facility can never again be
used for passenger service”, according to the
pact is subject to definitive contracts being approved by both city councils.
It becomes void if the US Congress does not enact legislation to enforce the
deal by December 31.
Southwest’s executive chairman and co-founder Herb Kelleher
today celebrated the accord, calling it a “peace pact” and a victory for the
Speaking at a press conference in Dallas,
Kelleher said: “I have been involved in litigation, legislative struggles, and
cuss fights over Love Field since 1972 - a period of 34 years. The fact that
Southwest Airlines stands here today - stands here with Fort
airport, American Airlines, and the city of Dallas
indicates, I believe, that there must be hope for world peace.
“And peace - and good will - is the essence of our
agreement, not to mention certainty, stability, and tranquility.”
Kelleher admits that in agreeing to the tentative pact, all
parties “have been compelled to make sacrifices - to yield on firmly held
positions - to moan and grown and agonize over decisions and mutual
American chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey
in a statement also notes: “We firmly believe the
Wright Amendment has served the region well, allowing DFW airport to become the
economic engine of north Texas.
However, this compromise allows our employees in Dallas/Fort Worth and
nationwide to move forward and refocus our collective energy on our ‘Turnaround
Plan’ and serving our customers in the best possible way.”
He adds: “In addition, the agreement includes terms to
ensure its enforcement. Considering all the possible options, we believe this to
be a pragmatic solution. It is clear that our supporters locally and nationwide
had a significant impact in this process and we thank them for their ongoing