Delta Gets A Bit Screwed In Dallas

Just when you thought all the controversy would subside around Dallas Love Field, there appears to be one final chapter.

For decades, the Wright Amendment has stifled controlled growth at Love Field.  In case you’re not familiar, the short version is that in order to promote growth at DFW airport, the powers that be passed legislation to make it nearly impossible to run an airline out of Dallas Love.  Southwest succeeded anyway and over the years campaigned to have the Wright Amendment abolished.

Now, on the cusp of it going away, Delta is kind of ending up with the short end of the stick as things shuffle around at DAL.

They’ve been operating flights recently out of DAL from two gates that they were subleasing from American Airlines.  The lease on those gates is up and the airport wants them back, despite the fact that Delta wants to serve more airports from DAL than they do currently.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings had called on the decision makers to make sure all airlines that wanted to fly out of DAL had the ability to secure gates.  Not an easy task with only 20 gates, but certainly manageable.  Rawlings certainly hasn’t been shy about criticizing the current state of affairs that lead to the Delta shutout:

“I’m disappointed on what’s happening on the United gates,” Rawlings said during a council meeting in May. “They’re not using the landing slots. We have three airlines that want to come in here and do this, and we’ve got to figure out how to make that happen.” The three airlines to which he was referring were Southwest, Virgin and Delta.

According to the article, United only has 6 flights between DAL and IAH.  But, the October schedule seems to show 7.

Right now, American Airlines, which operates a large hub out of DFW, has 6 flights a day to HOU and an additional 9 flights a day to IAH.  Taking into account that all of those flights are operated in both directions, American is operating 30 flights between Dallas and Houston a day right now.  United has the same number of flights between IAH and DFW, though on different sized aircraft.

On its face, it doesn’t seem like United is completely squatting on the gates.  But, even if they were I can’t say I blame them a ton.  I remember a competition when I was in elementary school where our teacher started a paper airplane factory and we all had to bid on items like markers, glue, scissors and paper factories, then trade with our fellow classmates, finally making the best paper airplanes we could with the material we acquired.  It occurred to me then that the right strategy was to bid all of our money on the paper factory, as if we controlled all the paper inventory, nobody else could make a plane to compete.

I’m not a fan of United, but it’s really up to the airport authority to step in if they feel United isn’t living up to it’s promises.

Anyway, it’s a fun story for me to watch.  More popcorn, please.

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