In a letter to the city this week, the Justice Department concluded that divesting the gates to Virgin America would increase competition at Love Field and that it was the only airline that would fulfill the terms of American's settlement.
May 10--As the week came to a close, there was still no decision on who will get two gates at Dallas Love Field.
Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez told the City Council on Wednesday that he expected to decide by the end of the week. But on Friday evening, the city issued a statement saying no decision has been made.
"The City Manager in consultation with the City Attorney continues to review and consider all the relevant information regarding the Love Field gate leases," the statement said.
Virgin America, Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines are vying for use of two gates that American Airlines is being forced to divest as part of its antitrust settlement with the Justice Department related to its merger with US Airways.
In a letter to the city this week, the Justice Department concluded that divesting the gates to Virgin America would increase competition at Love Field and that it was the only airline that would fulfill the terms of American's settlement. American does not use the gates but subleases them to Delta and SeaPort Airlines.
The Justice Department said it would reject proposals from the city that would give the gates to Southwest or Delta. With the Wright Amendment restrictions on long-haul flights expiring Oct. 13, airlines have clamored for access to Love Field, hoping to attract Dallas business travelers with convenient flights.
After a council meeting Wednesday, Virgin America Chief Executive David Cush said he was "highly confident" that his airline would receive the gates. The airline conducted a public campaign to "free Love Field," bringing in Virgin's British founder, Richard Branson, to attend a rally in Dallas and write a "love letter" to the city.
Virgin America operates six daily flights at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport to San Francisco and Los Angeles and plans to move its operations to Love Field in October if it gets the gates.
Southwest has said it would use the two gates to add 20 more flights to five additional destinations. The Dallas-based carrier has 16 of the 20 gates at Love Field for operations. United Airlines operates the remaining two.
"It's not about Love Field. It's about the whole market," Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said Wednesday. "We simply would love the opportunity to grow more."
Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631 Twitter: @Sky_Talk
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