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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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Southwest Airlines May Seek Expansion in Texas


A Southwest Airlines jet taking off in front of the corporate headquarters at Dallas Love Field. | Image by David Woo, The Dallas Morning News

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Southwest Airlines may be exploring expansion to a second airport in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The airline has only flown out of Dallas Love Field Airport in North Texas for 50 years.

The opportunity to expand flights to DFW International Airport or another regional hub could come as soon as 2025. A provision of an agreement between the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, DFW Airport, American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines will expire in 2025.

This agreement existed under the Wright Amendment, which prohibited the operation of full-size airliners between Love Field and destinations beyond Texas and its four neighboring states. The Wright Amendment expired in 2014, but a lingering provision that expires in 2025 will, once lifted, allow for Southwest’s expansion to DFW International Airport without giving up business at Dallas Love Field.

The expiration of the provision would allow Southwest Airlines to create a new business deal to expand in DFW, begin operations at other regional airports, or push for more gates at Dallas Love Field, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Dallas Love Field, due to its small size which restricts capacity, has had several lawsuits to determine how many planes can land and take off.

At a quarterly call with shareholders and media yesterday, Southwest leaders emphasized they are “very happy” at their home operations base, Dallas Love Field. They acknowledged the airport’s limitations relative to the increasing demand for flights.

“We want to continue to serve the area, and at some point, that becomes difficult given the capacity at Love Field,” Southwest CEO Bob Jordan said. “We’ll look to add capacity generally to the extent that we can, and there are a lot of potential ways to do that. Obviously, DFW could be a way to do that — we don’t have anything in process.”

A spokesperson for DFW International Airport told NBC5 that DFW is not in negotiations with Southwest Airlines to expand at DFW Airport.

In a statement to NBC5, Southwest Airlines said, “Southwest is proud to serve our customers at our home airport, Dallas Love Field, and to provide low-fare, safe, and reliable air travel to the residents of Dallas and the North Texas region. We do not have any observations to share regarding recent conversations about the airport.”

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