"Regardless of what they claim, both the local economy and the environment around Love Field will undoubtedly suffer if the Wright Amendment is repealed," he said.
American executives have threatened to move a significant number of flights from D/FW to Love Field if the amendment is repealed. Neighborhood groups around Love Field have opposed lifting the restrictions, which they fear will bring more noise and traffic to the area.
D/FW officials say losing flights and passengers to Love Field could seriously strain the airport's finances, just as it is assuming nearly $3 billion in new debt for its new terminal and SkyLink train system.
Southwest executives maintain that D/FW, which has grown into one of the world's largest airports, no longer needs protection from Love Field.
"This issue is about high fares, and the cost of doing nothing is just too great," said Gary Kelly, Southwest's chief executive. He said eliminating the restrictions would "bring the Dallas market out of the Dark Ages and into the light of lower fares, increased travel and more dollars spent in area businesses."
IN THE KNOW
A report commissioned by Southwest Airlines examined the effect of lifting the Wright Amendment. Its conclusions:
Annual passenger savings: $700 million
Average round-trip savings: $134
A consultant hired by Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport says an expansion of nearby Love Field would lead to reduced flights and millions fewer passengers each year at DFW.
Dallas Love Field could see traffic double or even triple if the Wright Amendment were repealed.
Unable to woo Southwest Airlines with an offer of $22 million and free rent, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport tried a publicity stunt Friday to lure the low-cost carrier.
A new study commissioned by American Airlines concludes that Dallas/Fort Worth Airport could lose hundreds of flights to scores of destinations if the Wright Amendment is repealed.