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April 25, 2014

Virgin America starts selling flights out of Love Field

Virgin America Dallas 1Virgin America announced that it has a signed agreement with American Airlines to obtain two gates at Dallas Love Field and began selling tickets for flights on Friday morning.

The San Francisco-based carrier said the agreement still needs to be approved by the city manager's office. Virgin America plans to operate routes to New York LaGuardia, Washington D.C. Reagan, Los Angeles and San Francisco airports

"Consumers are the winner," said Virgin America Chairman Don Carty. "This is a big state. There is room for a little healthy competition at Love."

The carrier launched a fare sale on Friday, offering fares for $79 on the new routes. Virgin is also donating $20 for every Love Field flight booked on Friday to the Knowledge is Power Program’s Dallas-Fort Worth College Prepartory Public Schools.

Virgin executives said the agreement has been approved by the U.S. Department of Justice and is awaiting approval from the city of Dallas. Virgin America chief executive David Cush said he expects the approval to be routine as the city has approved other lease transaction in the past.

However, the city of Dallas said on Friday that no decision had been made.

“No decisions have been made regarding carriers operating out of 2 Love Field gates. Transportation Cmte. will be briefed Monday,” the city of Dallas tweeted.

In a statement, American said the process is still ongoing for the Love Field gates.

"The DOJ gave American a list of one airline as an approved acquire of the gates at Love Field and that was Virgin America. We are actively working on a sublease with Virgin America which could take several days or more to complete. We are respectful of the city’s rights in this process," the company said.

On Thursday, airline executives said that the future of the two Love Field gates was still undetermined and that Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines remain in the running.

Steve Johnson, an executive vice president at American, said Thursday it will be a couple of weeks before the winner of those gates is named. As part of its settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to gain approval of its merger with US Airways, American was required to give up takeoff and landing slots and gates at several airports across the country.

Photo by Star-Telegram photographer Max Faulkner.

-Andrea Ahles

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TXCOMT

As in former AMR Corp. chairman and CEO Don Carty? That should've been noted in the story!

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