Time Frame Set for Wright Resolution

STAFF WRITER MARIA RECIO REPORTS | 1C

The Wright Amendment debate came to Capitol Hill on Thursday, and one thing was clear by day's end: The push to end flight restrictions at Dallas Love Field won't be ending anytime soon.

Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., who heads the Senate's aviation subcommittee, set a two-year time frame to resolve the issue. He said he'd like to include action on the Wright Amendment in a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill scheduled for 2007.

Missouri is expected to be exempted from the restrictions soon because of language put in a transportation bill by Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., who favors repeal.

NEGOTIATING A PHASEOUT?

Southwest Airlines Chairman Herb Kelleher said he'd be open to negotiating a phaseout of the Wright Amendment over five years. He said Southwest won't come to D/FW, where American controls 84 percent of the traffic and doesn't "welcome interlopers with warm milk and graham crackers."

American Airlines Chairman Gerard Arpey said he's not interested in negotiating a five-year phaseout. He said the airline has invested billions of dollars at D/FW Airport on the premise that the Wright Amendment would stay in place.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said the fate of the Wright Amendment should be decided by leaders in Texas, not in Washington. "It puts us all in a horribly difficult position," she said.


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