Graham Warwick/WASHINGTON DC

American Airlines' lengthy, and ultimately unsuccessful, legal battle to prevent start-up carrier Legend Airlines from launching long-haul services from Dallas Love Field Airport may have backfired.

The city of Dallas is refusing to allow American to operate competing services from refurbished gates in Love Field's east concourse. As a result, American will launch services to Chicago O'Hare and Los Angeles on 1 May from the gates it shares with Continental Express in the east concourse at the airport.

The airline will operate five flights a day to Chicago and four to Los Angeles, using Fokker 100s reconfigured with 56 first-class seats to stay within the capacity restrictions on long-haul flights from Love Field. Five Fokker 100s are being converted. Boeing MD-80s may be used later, American says.

To make room for the new services, American Eagle will discontinue its eight daily Embraer RJ-145 flights to Austin, Texas, which use the shared gates.

American is continuing with refurbishment of three gates at the former Braniff terminal and hopes to move its operations there on 28 May, if it gets approval from the city of Dallas.

Having lost its lawsuit against Dallas to prevent Legend beginning operations, American argues it has the legal right to operate competitive long-haul services from Love Field, "and Dallas has a federal obligation to accommodate our needs".

Legend began services from Love Field to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Washington Dulles earlier this month, using 56-seat McDonnell Douglas DC-9s.

American has no plans to restart small regional jet services from Love Field. Continental Express operates ERJ-145s from the airport, and Delta Connection carrier Comair has filed to begin regional jet operations there.

Source: Flight International