Southwest Airlines has moved ahead
with its plan to have the Wright Amendment overturned with the launch of a new
website designed to garner public support for lobbying against the 1979 law
that restricts the carrier’s Dallas Love Field hub operations.
The low-cost giant yesterday
officially launched its ‘setlovefree.com’ website, which Southwest calls its
“latest tool in educating consumers on the importance of repealing the Wright
The law was introduced 25 years ago
to protect the newly built Dallas/Fort Worth
(DFW) airport by limiting nonstop service from Love Field to within Texas and
the four contiguous states of Arkansas,
In 1997, the Shelby Amendment expanded this to include Alabama,
Southwest had until last November
maintained a neutral stance on the Wright Amendment issue. However, that
neutrality dissolved when the carrier’s CEO Gary Kelly said publicly that he
planned to be part of a campaign to lobby the US Congress to overturn the law.
“We have heard from a number of
people who want more information about the Wright Amendment,” says Southwest
director of legislative awareness Susan Goodman. “Setlovefree.com will help us
to educate consumers on the amendment and to update them on our efforts to get
On its new website, Southwest calls
the Wright Amendment “an anti-competitive relic” and notes that Love Field “is
not a threat to DFW”.
However, DFW is fighting back by
again offering Southwest an incentive package to serve the airport that
includes free rent for a year and up to $22 million in other incentives.
“Southwest can have the best of both
worlds at Love Field and DFW, and unite and benefit North
Texas,” says DFW chief operating officer Kevin Cox in
DFW has been trying to fill 21 empty
gates since Delta Air Lines reduced its daily departures from 258 to 21 on
“Instead of focusing all their
employees’ time and energy on lobbying Congress to repeal legislation that
helped create billions of dollars of revenue and 265,000 jobs for the North Texas region, Southwest
should compete with the rest of the domestic carriers at DFW,” adds Cox.
However, Southwest on January 21
confirmed that it had turned down DFW’s
incentive package, saying that the proposal did not override the carrier’s
preference for Love Field.
As yet, no bills have been
introduced to the Congress seeking a repeal of the Wright Amendment. However,
senators have expressed an interest in examining the issue.