Southwest Airlines has announced it would add 20 flights to 12 new non-stop destinations if the airline is able to acquire two additional gates at Dallas Love Field.
American Airlines must relinquish the two gates under the terms of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding American’s merger with U.S. Airways. However, other airlines are also bidding for the gates.
Southwest Airlines has also announced it will launch service in any case from its existing gates at Dallas Love Field to five more U.S. destinations in 2015, in addition to the 15 cities that Southwest previously announced it would start serving from Love Field beginning later this year.
The five definite new 2015 destinations that Southwest will add from Dallas Love Field are Boston Logan International Airport; Oakland and San Jose in California; Panama City Beach in Florida; and Portland, Oregon.
Various airlines, among them Delta Airlines and Virgin America as well as Southwest Airlines (which is already by far the dominant operator at Dallas Love Field, controlling almost all the gates there) have applied for rights to take over the two gates which American is divesting.
However, Delta and Virgin America already operate from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and “can easily expand at DFW’s ample gate facilities,” Southwest claims.
In a statement announcing its new plans for Dallas Love Field, Southwest Airlines adds, “In contrast, Southwest’s growth in North Texas can occur only at Love Field under the terms of the five-party agreement that resulted in the end of the Wright Amendment.”
The Wright Amendment was a piece of 1970s U.S. federal legislation which restricted operations from Dallas Love Field to states which had borders which were contiguous with those of Texas.
Recently abolished, the Wright Amendment was enacted in order to offer the then-new Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport an unrestricted opportunity to grow, free from competition from Dallas Love Field (which is much closer to the center of Dallas than is DFW) on most U.S. domestic routes.
Abolition of the Wright Amendment potentially allows operations from Dallas Love Field to any state in the mainland U.S.
If its bid to win the two additional Dallas Love Field gates is successful, Southwest says it would add non-stop service to Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina; Charleston in South Carolina; Detroit; Indianapolis; Memphis; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Newark; Philadelphia; Sacramento; San Francisco; and Seattle.