12:38 PM

DFW International Airport Responds To Remarks By Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly On Wright Amendment

Airport Remains Committed to Bringing More Low-Fare Carriers to North Texas Following Southwest's Decision Not To Offer Service from DFW

(DFW International Airport, November 12, 2004) DFW International Airport remains committed to growing low-fare carrier business for North Texas travelers, despite Southwest Airlines' decision today not to offer new service from DFW. The Airport has been talking to a number of low-fare carriers in an effort to replace service from Delta Air Lines, which announced it would close its DFW hub in February 2005.

DFW Board Chairman Max Wells, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Fegan and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Cox also reiterated the terms of the Wright Amendment, which Southwest Airlines was a key party to in 1979.

Jeff Fegan, DFW International Board Chief Executive Officer:

“An agreement is an agreement. The legislative history of the Wright Amendment shows a clear compromise between the Cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, DFW International Airport and Southwest Airlines.

As embodied in the Conference Report, Section 29 of the International Aviation Transportation Act of 1979 provided “a fair and equitable settlement for a dispute that has raged in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for many years.” The agreement has provided certainty and harmony for all parties over the years, including residents surrounding Dallas Love Field.

The measure has allowed Southwest Airlines to grow at Love Field and DFW International Airport to grow into the economic engine of North Texas.” 

Max Wells, DFW International Airport Board Chairman:

“DFW has been pursuing Southwest Airlines to provide low-fare service out of our Airport, which it can do under the terms of the Wright Amendment, and today Southwest announced that it has declined.

Whether intentional or unintentional, Mr. Kelly's comments today could have a chilling effect on another low-fare carrier entering the market at DFW.

Southwest may be attempting to turn its competitors away from North Texas.

Low-fare carriers can indeed do quite well at DFW, as evidenced by the strong growth of AirTran Airways over the past year. We remain confident we will bring other low-fare carriers to our Airport in the future, despite Southwest's decision.”

Kevin Cox, DFW International Airport Chief Operating Officer:

“We believe that airline competition is good for the traveling public, but competition by two airports that share some common ownership is not.

This latest assault on the Wright Amendment could not be more ill-timed to have a detrimental impact upon DFW. The Airport just completed the financing of its $2.7 billion capital development program - which includes a new airport train and international terminal - through the issuance of new debt. These facilities, built to improve the travel experience and business environment for North Texas, will increase DFW's debt load six-fold.

A few months ago, Delta Air Lines announced it is eliminating its DFW hub, reducing its daily operations from 254 to 21 and leaving 25 gates empty. And as everyone is well aware, the entire airline industry remains in an economic tailspin. 

Obviously, any changes to the Wright Amendment, which could siphon traffic from DFW Airport to Love Field, would have a detrimental effect upon DFW and its carriers at a time when they are least equipped to handle such a major change.

The Airport Board has, from its inception, advocated for the strong retention of the Wright Amendment. DFW Airport must remain vigilant in its efforts to ensure that despite this latest assault, there are no additional attempts to repeal, amend or alter the Wright Amendment.

Meanwhile, DFW will continue to serve as the economic engine of North Texas, supporting more than 268,000 jobs and creating more than $14 billion in economic activity for the region.”

Editors: To arrange interviews, contact Ken Capps, Vice President, Public Affairs at 972-574-8080 or kcapps@dfwairport.com.