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Southwest Celebrates Expiration of Wright Amendment, Announces 7 New Routes


There was a lot to celebrate at Dallas Love Field on Monday with the repeal of the Wright Amendment bringing new, nonstop service on Southwest Airlines and Virgin America.

It was free donuts and red carpet treatment for passengers who arrived to catch the first nonstop flights out of Dallas Love Field (DAL) on Monday, celebrating the day the Wright Amendment expired, reported the Dallas Morning News.

Since 1979, airlines have been limited in the destinations they could serve from DAL. With the Wright Amendment’s repeal, airlines are free to offer nonstop service to anywhere they choose, without the geographical restrictions set in place by the amendment. Southwest Airlines and Virgin America both announced new nonstop services which began on Monday.

For Southwest, Monday was a historical event. Brad Hawkins, a spokesman for the airline, spoke with FlyerTalk on the phone, sharing the company’s excitement about the opportunities this will bring for the Dallas-based carrier.

“This is a cool day, and it’s only going to get better,” Hawkins said. “It’s such a remarkably unique set of circumstances. We’re the hometown carrier for Dallas, yet Dallas risked falling down our list of top 10 cities served and falling out altogether.”

Hawkins went on to note that Southwest, which is the world’s largest low-cost carrier, has reached a milestone many of the company’s employees never thought possible. “Overnight, we’ve connected the fourth largest metropolitan area in the U.S. to the largest [low-cost] U.S. airline, and we did it in the shadow of our corporate headquarters. There were a lot of long-term employees walking around today saying [they] never thought [they’d] see this in [their] lifetime.”

The airline’s celebration included the participation of Southwest founder and Chairman Emeritus Herb Kelleher, President Emerita and Corporate Secretary Colleen Barrett, and CEO Gary Kelly in the inaugural flight to Denver. Southwest also dispersed street teams throughout Dallas to give away 1,000 free airline tickets. A press event featured Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings welcoming Southwest to DAL. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson was also present at the event.

“So we had a day that involved ceremony, legacy, business, community and nostalgia,” Hawkins summarized.

Originally, Hawkins explained, Southwest intended to announce five new destinations on Monday, with another 10 announced during the second phase in November, but the carrier decided to announce seven today and the remaining eight in about three weeks. Additional flights will be added in January and March.

“We’ll go from 16 to 34 nonstop destinations at Love Field by March,” Hawkins said. “Anything that flows over and through Dallas now becomes much more attractive.”

Southwest is prohibited from initiating international service, and it is limited to 20 gates, so Hawkins said the carrier will be strategic in where it goes.

“Obviously we will look at where we see the best opportunities,” he explained. “These [initial destinations] are focal cities for Southwest and where the available aircraft complimented what the existing through and connecting traffic indicated from Dallas.”

[Photo: iStock]

Comments are Closed.
Dianne47 October 14, 2014

What's amazing is the harmful-to-consumers "Wright Amendment" lasted for so long. Long live competition and consumer choice at DAL/DFW..

mkdavis66 October 14, 2014

Thank you for your comment. If you click on the links above for both Southwest and Virgin you will find the neew routes and when they are scheduled to begin. Southwest will publish its next schedule on Oct. 27.

RJ1 October 14, 2014

Did I miss it? What are the 7 new routes mentioned in the headline?

mile ho October 14, 2014

Maybe you should have asked about these new 18 nonstops? What are the destinations? That would be good to know.