2014 Archives

Love Field is finally operating without Wright Amendment curbs


The following is from the Oct. 13, 2014, edition of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Bernard Weinstein, an economist and associate director of SMU's Maguire Energy Institute, provided expertise for this story.

October 13, 2014

By Andrea Ahles

The moment that North Texas travelers have been waiting for has finally arrived.

Starting today, nonstop flights to Denver, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago will be taking off from Dallas Love Field as the Wright Amendment restrictions are lifted.

For consumers, industry analysts say, there will be more choices, particularly for business travelers, since there will be more daily flights to cities like Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. And there may be some fare sales as airlines try to fill up seats on these new flights.

“You’re basically going to have to spur demand and the only way to spur demand in something like this is to drop prices,” said FareCompare.com founder Rick Seaney. “You have to get people to go who wouldn’t go if the price isn’t right.”

For 34 years, the Wright Amendment restricted where airlines could fly out of Love Field to a handful of states unless the airline was using planes with less than 56 seats. A compromise between local leaders and approved by Congress ends those restrictions while limiting the airport to 20 gates and prohibiting international flights.

But the impact won’t be as great for North Texas fliers as some might have hoped when the compromise was reached in 2006.

The airline industry has fewer competitors, with several airlines merging, including American and US Airways, and Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways. Oil prices spiked in 2008 and have remained around $100 a barrel. As a result, average fares at both Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and Love Field have increased in the past few years.

“The real beneficiaries of the Wright Amendment going away are people who live closer to Love Field than to DFW,” said Bud Weinstein, an economist at Southern Methodist University. “It’s also a real plus for downtown Dallas because you now have an airport 10 minutes from downtown.”

Read the full story.

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