“My intention is to come to a conclusion by the end of the week,” city manager A.C. Gonzalez said after the council spent over an hour in closed session discussing the future of the gates.
Southwest Airlines and Virgin America both want to take control of two gates at Love Field that American Airlines is required to divest as part of its antitrust settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. Currently, Delta Air Lines leases the gates from American and also wants to use the gates permanently.
Dallas Mayor Rawlings said he will support whatever decision Gonzalez makes and is excited that there are several airlines wanting to do business with the city of Dallas.
“I believe competition is good,” Rawlings said. “It is a growth driver for this city and the allocation of gates...is an important issue that the council should understand.”
Both Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly and Virgin America chief executive David Cush attended Wednesday’s council meeting.
Kelly said he was not surprised that no decision was made and reiterated the Dallas-based carrier’s position that it can provide more low fares to Dallas residents, adding 20 flights to five additional destinations if it gets the two gates.
“If it’s more affordable air that you want in the city of Dallas, Southwest is your answer,” Kelly said to the media following the meeting.
Cush said he does not plan to contact Gonzalez prior to the announcement of the decision as he believes they have made their position clear and are highly confident they will receive the gates.
“We’ve been confident since day one,” Cush said.