The mayors of Fort Worth and Dallas, along with a select delegation of council members, met privately Friday to begin negotiating a solution to the Wright Amendment.
The two-hour meeting at the Wyndham Hotel in Arlington near the city's convention center was friendly and focused mostly on general issues, according to Fort Worth's mayor and two council members.
"Basically, it was a get-acquainted process understanding which issues are important to each city, discussing more or less the challenge we face finding this local solution from 30,000 feet rather than from ground level," Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief said. "We didn't really address specifics. This is a huge issue to define."
Moncrief said he expects the group to "drill down a little deeper next meeting."
A second meeting has not been scheduled, but it could come in the next week or two, participants said.
Fort Worth Councilmen Sal Espino and Jungus Jordan also attended.
Mayor Laura Miller and council members Linda Koop, Ed Oakley and Pauline Medrano represented Dallas.
Miller said through her chief of staff, Frank Librio, that she agreed with Moncrief that the meeting was professional and that there's more to come. She declined further comment.
Jordan and Espino declined to give specifics about the meeting, referring questions to Moncrief.
Jordan described the general tone of the meeting as a good first start.
"We're rolling up our sleeves and going to work," he said.
The Dallas City Council set a June 14 deadline to present Congress with a proposal for resolving the decades-long debate over the Wright Amendment.
Fort Worth set a deadline of Aug. 1.
The 1979 law restricts nonstop travel from Dallas Love Field to eight nearby states. It has been criticized by Dallas-based Southwest Airlines and legislators, who say it is outdated and should be repealed because it would result in lower airfares by promoting competition among airlines.
Fort Worth-based American Airlines, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and Fort Worth officials have said that a repeal could financially harm D/FW Airport.
That's where both cities found agreement at Friday's meeting, Moncrief said.
"The city of Dallas has different challenges than the city of Fort Worth, and yet we both share the responsibility to keep the largest fiscal engine in this region healthy, and that's D/FW," Moncrief said. "Both of us agreed that is our top priority."
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