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November 12, 2013

American gives up gates at Dallas Love Field it doesn't even use

Wright Amendment one year away 39American Airlines brief tenure at Dallas Love Field is coming to an end.

As part of the settlement agreement reached between the U.S. Department of Justice and American and US Airways, American is required to give up the two gates that it leases at Love Field.

But the irony is American doesn't even use the two gates it currently has. Instead, American subleases the gates to Delta Air Lines which operates regional jets to Atlanta from Love Field.

The carrier initiated service at Love Field in 2006 as part of the Wright Amendment Compromise Agreement but pulled out in 2009 as the airline continued to struggle to attract customers away from Southwest Airlines which dominates passenger traffic at the airport close to downtown Dallas.

Currently, Love Field is undergoing a modernization project that renovates its existing terminal but limits it to 20 gates as part of the compromise deal. Of those 20 gates, Southwest Airlines controls 16 of those gates.

U.S Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer said the Love Field divestitures will open the airport to more low cost competition. He acknowledged that American is still the dominate carrier at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport but added that with the Wright Amendment restrictions going away in October 2014 it made sense to require gate divestitures at Love. 

"At DFW, it’s not all that hard to get gates and they aren’t slot constrained so you know that would be fleas off a vest to get gate divestitures at DFW whereas getting these gate divestitures at Love are quite meaningful," Baer said on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.

-Andrea Ahles

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