DFW Airport Seeks to Limit Gates at Rival Love Field

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport would support ending limits on flights from Dallas Love Field if its smaller rival would agree to close nearly half its gates, according to a DFW report.

DFW Airport could support phasing out limits at Love Field only if the smaller airport closed as many as 14 of its 32 gates. DFW also want officials to create a regional airport authority - possibly placing all local airports under control of DFW's board.

The DFW report was written last month as part of the airport's internal discussions and obtained Thursday by several news organizations, including The Associated Press.

The DFW recommendation could force Southwest Airlines Co. to lose space at its home airport. Only 19 of the gates are now in use.

Still, a Southwest official said the report represented a historic shift by DFW Airport, which has always steadfastly opposed repealing the Wright Amendment, the 1979 law that restricts flights at Love Field.

"This indicates DFW and the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth acknowledge that under certain conditions it's time for the Wright Amendment to go away," said Ron Ricks, a Southwest senior vice president.

In the report, DFW officials suggest that 18 to 23 gates would handle traffic at Love Field through 2020.

Southwest opposed reducing gates at Love Field, Ricks said. Creating a regional airport authority should be considered as a separate issue, he said.

Southwest is lobbying Congress to repeal the Wright Amendment, which limits most passenger flights to and from Love Field and a handful of nearby states. The airline has threatened to move its headquarters out of Dallas if it can't expand at Love Field.

Congress has chipped away at the law in recent years, allowing flights from Love Field to additional states, including Missouri late last year. The cities of Dallas and Fort Worth asked Congress to delay more changes to the law while they work on a settlement.

DFW Airport and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, DFW's dominant carrier, oppose Southwest. They say more flights at Love Field would undermine DFW.

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