It’s the end of an era. As of October 13, 2014, the Wright Amendment is gone and airlines flying out of Love Field are “now free to move about the country.” The Wright Amendment, enacted in 1980, prohibited flights from the Dallas airport to locations beyond states immediately adjacent to Texas. A few additional destinations were added later, but the restrictions remained onerous.
Obviously Southwest Airlines is celebrating. The airline has sixteen of twenty passenger gates at Dallas Love Field and maintains its headquarters there. Southwest is implementing service to a number of cities over the coming months.
But Southwest isn’t the only airline applauding the change. Virgin is also excited. That airline took over two gates that Delta Airlines had been sub-leasing from American Airlines. American was forced to give up the gates to gain approval of its merger with US Airways.
For passengers in Dallas, the convenience of being able to travel to New York, Los Angeles and other such destinations from an airport that is smaller and more easily accessible than DFW International is certainly attractive. However, larger practical questions remain, such as the effect of increased air traffic on neighborhoods that lie along the approach paths, the ability of Southwest to maintain its quick turn-around time with long haul flights instead of regional hops, and the ultimate effect on operations at DFW. Thus, whether this is a good or bad change remains to be seen.