Air- Southwest Airlines gets ready for end of Wright amendment | – News for Dallas, Texas – The Dallas Morning News

Posted: October 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Oct. 11, 2013

One year from Sunday, the shackles come off Dallas Love Field, and Southwest Airlines Co. is already anticipating the moment.

It is planning a full year of celebrations and promotions to lead up to Oct. 13, 2014, when the Wright amendment goes away and Southwest can fly nonstop anywhere it wants in the United States.

The Dallas-based carrier, whose main offices abut Love Field, isn’t revealing everything it has planned. But on Monday, it will unveil a countdown clock in its headquarters lobby so that employees can see how many days remain until the big change.

“Something big is going to happen on 10-13-14,” Southwest executive Ron Ricks said Friday, “and it’s so big that we think it’s going to take a full year to celebrate. So we’re going to start the countdown at 10-14-2013.”

The Wright amendment, signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on Feb. 15, 1980, restricted nonstop flights from Dallas Love Field to airports in Texas and four bordering states — Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico and Arkansas.

Not only did the law bar flights beyond those states, but it also barred airlines from selling a ticket that would take a passenger to airports beyond those states even on a connecting or one-stop basis.

In 1997, Congress put Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama inside the boundaries, and Missouri was added in 2005. Meanwhile, Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly began a push in November 2004 to get the law repealed.

The effort wound up with a June 2006 compromise among Southwest, American Airlines Inc., the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to do away with the Wright amendment restrictions in eight years. The law, passed by Congress, was enacted Oct. 13, 2006, setting up Oct. 13, 2014, as its expiration date.

“We’ve lived with the Wright amendment for 34 years,” Ricks said. “Now we’re going to take 365 days to say goodbye to it.”

Ricks, Southwest’s executive vice president and chief legal and regulatory officer, said Southwest intends to make a big deal of the impending change to remind people of what is about to occur.

“It occurred to us that our customers, our employees in North Texas and certainly our customers and employees outside North Texas all generally know something is supposed to happen sometime soon, but they don’t know what and they don’t know when,” he said.

“So starting Monday, by way of a regular celebration that we’ll roll out on a periodic basis over the course of a full year, we’re going to start telling people, first of all when, which is Oct. 13, 2014, and then later in the year as we move into it, more of the ‘what,’ ” Ricks said.

Ricks declined to specify where Southwest will fly nonstop from Dallas Love Field. Other executives have suggested that the likely destinations will be the cities that are largest in the Southwest system, such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Chicago, Orlando, Fla., and Baltimore.

If history is any guide, Southwest probably will lay out its Oct. 13, 2014, schedule in February or March.

“Being Southwest Airlines, we may have a surprise or two here or there with regards to timing,” Ricks said, “but we don’t know yet.”

via Southwest Airlines gets ready for end of Wright amendment | – News for Dallas, Texas – The Dallas Morning News.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s