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October 14, 2013

In one year, Wright Amendment restrictions finally are lifted

WrightSouthwest Airlines is ready to celebrate its first minute of freedom from the Wright Amendment at Dallas Love Field, even though it’s a year away.

The Dallas-based airline is unveiling a countdown clock today at its headquarters, reminding employees, passengers and North Texans that starting on Oct. 13, 2014, it will be able to fly nonstop anywhere in the U.S. from its Love Field home.

“We are going to start telling people exactly what this means, in terms of providing nonstop Love to the people of North Texas,” Executive Vice President Ron Ricks said. “We want North Texas to be as excited about it as we are.”

When the compromise agreement was signed in 2006, eight years seemed like a long time to wait for the travel restrictions to be lifted at Love Field. The long-negotiated delay was meant to give Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and its main tenant, American Airlines, time to prepare for the big change.

But in those eight years, the airline industry has changed dramatically as several carriers have merged – including Southwest, which bought AirTran Airways. Both Love Field and DFW have also undertaken expensive terminal renovations to make traveling in and out of the Metroplex more customer-friendly.

As a result, industry analysts don’t expect the end of Wright Amendment restrictions to dramatically affect air travel for travelers in the Metroplex, aside from new competition on selected routes.

“It’s an opportunity for Southwest, but it’s not a sea change in travel patterns in the Metroplex,” aviation consultant Michael Boyd said.

To read the full story that appeared in Monday's Star-Telegram, click here.

-Andrea Ahles


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