Within the last two weeks American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, along with the cities of Dallas and Ft. Worth, have come to an agreement to basically repeal the Wright amendment – a law which has prevented Southwest from flying directly from Dallas to anywhere other than within Texas and a few border states.
This is a huge deal for anyone that ever flys in or out of the DFW area. Since American Airlines is based out of DFW International airport they have had a stranglehold on flights inter-state flights.
To give one example, when I was living in Maryland I could get a non-stop flight on Southwest from BWI for $200 round trip. But to go to Dallas on AA cost at least $300. And Dallas is actually a shorter flight!
As soon as this legislation is enacted by congress Southwest will be immediately permitted to sell one-stop tickets from Dallas to the rest of the country. In eight years, they will be permitted to fly nonstop to any domestic destination.
A July 12 study by two aviation research consultants estimated that 2 million North Texas airline passengers will save $259 million a year because of heightened competition.
Here is the Southwest Airlines Statement on the matter:
Airline Responds to Announcement Regarding Wright Amendment
Read the Joint Statement
DALLASÃ¢â‚¬â€June 15, 2006Ã¢â‚¬â€Southwest Airlines joined with the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, American Airlines, and DFW International Airport today to announce all parties have agreed to seek the enactment of legislation to repeal the Wright Amendment.
At a news conference in Dallas today, Southwest Airlines Executive Chairman Herb Kelleher said:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have been involved in litigation, legislative struggles, and cuss fights over Love Field since 1972Ã¢â‚¬â€a period of 34 years. The fact that Southwest Airlines stands here todayÃ¢â‚¬â€stands here with Fort Worth, DFW Airport, American Airlines, and the City of Dallas indicates, I believe, that there must be hope for world peace. And peaceÃ¢â‚¬â€and good willÃ¢â‚¬â€is the essence of our agreementÃ¢â‚¬â€not to mention certainty, stability, and tranquility.
Under the perseverant Leadership of the Mayors of Dallas and Fort WorthÃ¢â‚¬â€who have literally worked day and night to bring this Ã¢â‚¬Å“Peace PactÃ¢â‚¬Â into being, our swords are truly being turned into plowshares. As with any difficult and complicated transaction, all sides, all parties, have been compelled to make sacrificesÃ¢â‚¬â€to yield on firmly held positionsÃ¢â‚¬â€to moan and groan and agonize over decisions and mutual concessions. The only victorÃ¢â‚¬â€the only sure fire winnerÃ¢â‚¬â€from this agreementÃ¢â‚¬â€is the publicÃ¢â‚¬â€the public citizen who will find it easier and far less expensive to travel to and from North Texas for business and personal reasonsÃ¢â‚¬â€the citizens who will reap vast economic benefits in their communities from enhanced travel and tourismÃ¢â‚¬â€at a lower cost.
On behalf of the public, we stand shoulder to shoulder with American Airlines, DFW Airport, and with the Mayors of Dallas and Fort Worth, in urging the City Councils of Dallas and Fort WorthÃ¢â‚¬â€and in urging the U.S. CongressÃ¢â‚¬â€to speedily approve the implementation of our agreement. PeaceÃ¢â‚¬â€truly enduring peaceÃ¢â‚¬â€be with all of youÃ¢â‚¬â€and with all of us.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The agreement is subject to Congress taking action on the proposed legislation.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“TodayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s historic agreement will benefit the public in terms of convenient connecting service and low fares from North Texas to the rest of the vast Southwest Airlines route network as soon as Congress acts,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Southwest CEO Gary Kelly. Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re trading certainty for uncertainty with this agreement, and it will allow us to plan for the future; it will allow us to reinvest in Dallas Love Field, our hometown airport; and it will allow us the opportunity to grow.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Finally, here is the entire contract.