'wrong' Amendment Back In The News

LoneStarMike

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I have a couple of questions regarding the Love Field Master Plan and Southwest gate facilities at DAL..

The Dallas Love Field Master Plan addresses the infratructure needs for the airport. There are two phases.

Phase 1 includes:

1. Open three East Concourse gates.

2. Demolish remainder of East Concourse.

3. Construct new cargo building.

4. Demolish existing cargo building.

5. Develop Commercial Vehicle Lot for taxi pick-ups and all buses and vans.

6. Add a new pedestrian bridge from the garage to the current main terminal
area and remove the existing bridge.

7. Close and reconstruct the lower level curb front road.

8. Reconfigure lanes at the arrivals area to a final two-curb arrangement, except with temporary connections from the upper level road.

I believe items 1, 2 and 6 have been completed. I don't know the status of the other work in Phase 1. Did Southwest ever start construction of the new cargo facility?

Phase 2 includes:

1. Relocate/replace Southwest Airlines Training Facility.

2. Redevelop North Concourse.

3. Relocate traffic to new outer curb lanes, close and lower upper level curb
lanes.

4. Relocate traffic to completed curb roads and vacate commercial vehicle lot.

5. Demolish vacant east ticket wing and expand curb front to final configuration.

6. Add DART station, if applicable.

7. Construct new ticketing and bag claim wing.

8. Construct new pedestrian walkway from parking garage to new ticketing/bag
claim

9. Begin improvements to Cedar Springs/Mockingbird intersection.

Regarding redevelopment of the North Concourse, aren't there some buildings constructed after DFW opened that obstruct those gates? I was thinking it was a facility for Provisioning or something like that. What, if anything would have to be torn down to gain ramp access to those gates?

Elsewhere in the master plan, it mentioned that Southwest's lease on its 14 West Concourse gates will expire December 16, 2006. Although I don't think Southwest will ever leave Love Field entirely (at least I hope they don't), I wonder if they might let some of their gates go when they come up for renewal if the Wright Amendment is still in place at that time?

Pre 9/11 they had 139 daily departures at Love Field. With the closing of IAH, DAL will be down to 117 departures. If they continue to drop a few flights here and there over the next 18 months, I could see them getting rid of 3 or 4 gates.

In other Wright Amendment news, there was a recent Tampa Tribune article that mentioned Southwest had turned to Tampa, Florida for help.

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority is considering giving its support to Southwest Airlines' quest to repeal a federal amendment so it can fly nonstop between Dallas Love Field and Tampa.

The issue appears to be a no-brainer from Tampa's end, where Southwest is Tampa International Airport's No. 1 carrier and construction is nearly complete on a new Airside C that primarily will serve the Dallas-based airline.

The $134 million airside is expected to open in mid-April.

``If the act is repealed, it would allow Southwest to fly anywhere in the United States from Love Field, including Tampa,´´ TIA Director Louis Miller said Thursday.

That could increase competition among carriers and lower air fares on the Tampa-Dallas route, Miller said. Those fares generally rank between the second- and fourth- most expensive among major destinations served from Tampa because of the dominance that American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have enjoyed on the route.

The average one-way fare between Tampa and Dallas in the first quarter of 2004 was $183.

The fare is surpassed only by those for flights serving Tampa and Cincinnati, Memphis, Tenn., and San Francisco, among major destinations.

Southwest is precluded from flying from its headquarters at Dallas Love Field to states beyond those contiguous to Texas, plus Alabama, Kansas and Mississippi, by The Wright Act.

The law is named after sponsor Jim Wright, a Texas Democrat and former majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The politically inspired federal legislation was enacted in 1979 to protect then-new Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, which is less convenient to people in Dallas than Love Field.

Southwest declined an incentive-laden offer to move some of its flights to Dallas- Fort Worth International.

Now that Delta has reduced its flights, Southwest has said that it sees a greater opportunity for long-distance growth from Dallas Love Field, Miller said.

The airline has asked the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority for its support in backing a legislative sponsor to repeal the act.

Dallas-Fort Worth International also has sought Tampa's support for maintaining the act, especially since Delta last month reduced its daily departures there from 258 to 21 and the airport has been left with empty gates.

The aviation authority is expected to decide at its monthly meeting in March whether to support the big Texas airport or Southwest on The Wright Amendment issue.


Source

The rest of the article talks about the opening of the new Airside C.

It will be interesting to see who they end up supporting. I suspect Southwest is working behind the scenes trying to drum up support from other communities they currently serve.

LoneStarMike
 

LoneStarMike

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D/FW launches pro-Wright site
By Bryon Okada
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Monday, February 7, 2005


D/FW AIRPORT - In defense of the Wright Amendment, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport plans to launch a Web site today in an attempt to sway support locally -- and on Capitol Hill.

Airport officials say the site, www.keepdfwstrong.com, is intended to be informational and to detail historical events.

"The site is not all about D/FW -- it's about the region," D/FW spokesman Ken Capps said.

But the information highlights the importance of the Wright Amendment, which limits flights at Dallas Love Field, and points to possible dangers to D/FW if the limits are repealed.


Link to full story

keepdfwstrong.com

Mike
 

sfb

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mweiss said:
What public money?

The money that the public pays directly through PFC's, parking fees, car rental fees, etc. and indirectly through landing fees, terminal rents, etc. charged to the airlines. In the end, it's the consumer that pays even if property or sales taxes aren't directly tapped.

And in any case, DFW's propaganda site is riddled with exaggerations, misstatements, and outright lies. To list a few (all quoted from keepdfwstrong.com):

Obviously, this legislation has permitted Southwest Airlines to flourish to the point that Southwest Airlines has now become the largest domestic air carrier in the United States in terms of passengers carried while still commanding a monopoly market share of more than 97 percent at Love Field. No other commercial airport in the United States is more dominated by a single carrier.

I can name at least a dozen airports in the U.S which are "more dominated by a single carrier." CSG, for example, has a single air carrier -- Delta Connection/ASA. In Texas, BRO only sees service from Continental. LNS is served only by US Airways Express. PVC is "dominated" by Cape Air. These are all "commercial airports" with a single carrier. Moreover, it is more apt to say that Southwest has prospered in spite of the Wright Amendment restrictions; the W.A. certainly holds little responsibility for Southwest's success.

All airlines, except Southwest Airlines, moved their operations to DFW International Airport consistent with the cities' measures. In contrast, Southwest Airlines sued and won the limited right to fly “intrastateâ€￾ (within Texas) service out of Love Field.

The other airlines moved their operations to DFW not to be "consistent with the cities' measures," but rather because they had signed contractual agreements to do so. Southwest never agreed to move to DFW in the first place. Moreover, Southwest's right to use Love Field was never tied to intrastate service before 1978; Southwest was an intrastate carrier because the Civil Aeronautics Board controlled interstate air routes before the airlines were deregulated. Constitutional sparation of powers meant that the Texas Aeronautics Commission regulated intrastate air travel.

Southwest Airlines can trace its early existence and 30 years of success to the Wright Amendment. Without this legislation, Love Field would have been closed and Southwest’s national success would not have gotten off the ground.

False. Southwest had been flying for seven years (profitable for five of them) before the Wright Amendment was enacted. The Wright Amendment was enacted specifically because the City of Dallas was prohibited by federal law from closing DAL to commercial airlines. Without the Wright Amendment, and absent other legislation designed to protect DFW, Southwest's use of DAL would be as unfettered as their use of HOU or MDW.

Top Reasons for Keeping the Wright Amendment

This is best resolved locally. This issue involves two major cities and two local airlines.

Well, if the issue is best resolved locally, why is there a federal law which governs the issue?

At DFW, our travelers enjoy the best of all worlds: international travel, strong regional travel, connecting service and competition for best fares.

Really? How much competition is there for the "best fares" between DFW and ICT? DFW and BNA? DFW and STL?
 

LoneStarMike

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Text of a letter that DFW apparently sent out to airports across the country in an effort to persuade them to not get involved in efforts to repeal the Wright Amendment

December 9, 2004 

Dear Airport Director: 

Last month, Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines, announced that he believed the Wright Amendment was anti-competitive and outdated.  He went on to state that Southwest is no longer "passionately neutral" about the Wright Amendment; to the contrary, he believes it should be repealed to allow Southwest to compete for long-haul traffic out of Love Field. 

I urge you not to become party to any effort to repeal the Wright Amendment.   

By way of background, the Wright Amendment was agreed to by the city of Dallas, the city of Fort Worth, DFW Airport, Southwest Airlines and other constituent groups in and around Love Field.  Although Southwest Airlines has benefited greatly from the Wright Amendment, it now wants to seek its repeal in order to protect its monopoly at Love Field.  If the Wright Amendment is successfully repealed, it will have a detrimental impact upon DFW Airport, its carriers and the North Texas Region.   

As you may or may not know, DFW Airport just completed the financing of a $2.7 billion capital development program through the issuance of new debt, which increased DFWÂ's debt load six fold.  In addition, in September, Delta Air Lines announced its plan to eliminate its DFW hub by February 1, reducing its daily operations from 254 to 21 and effectively abandoning 24 gates at DFW.   

An economic impact study released by the University of North Texas earlier this month shows that the DFW Metroplex will sustain a nearly $800 million economic loss as a result of Delta;s decision to eliminate its hub.  DeltaÂ's decision will cost the regional economy more than 7,000 jobs paying more than $344 million in annual wages, salaries and benefits. 

Property income from rents, dividends and other sources will decrease by $143 million each year.  State and local governments, including the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, are expected to lose approximately $58 million per year in tax revenues.  All of these figures will be exacerbated if the Wright Amendment is repealed. 

Obviously, any changes to the Wright Amendment, which could siphon traffic from DFW to Love Field, would have a detrimental impact upon DFW and its carriers at a time when they are least equipped to handle such a major change. 
Equally disconcerting is the fact that this announcement by Southwest could have, and already has had, a chilling effect on DFWÂ's efforts to bring a low-cost carrier to DFW Airport.  Nonetheless, DFW remains committed to backfilling these gates with a low-cost carrier. 

Prior to Mr. Kelly's announcement, DFW had been courting Southwest Airlines in an effort to have Southwest serve the cities to be abandoned by Delta.  Instead of picking up these flights at DFW, Southwest has chosen the most caustic, divisive option by choosing to repeal the Wright Amendment and provide that service from Love Field.   

Mr. Kelly and Southwest Airlines plan to seek repeal of the Wright Amendment during the next Congressional session, which begins in January.  As with many other issues, I believe that this is a local issue that should be resolved locally.  As I would never seek to alter how your airport is operated or managed, I respectfully ask that you resist any efforts to involve your airport in the repeal of the Wright Amendment. 

Retaining the Wright Amendment means a stronger, more diversified DFW, with more carriers offering lower fares to a larger passenger base.  Therefore, if you are contacted, I would suggest that you let Southwest Airlines know that you would like to have the airline serve your city, if that is the case, but that you would like to see Southwest provide that service from DFW Airport, not Love Field, as originally agreed to by all parties. 

Thank you for your consideration.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me. 

Sincerely, 
 
 
Jeffrey P. Fegan
Chief Executive Officer
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

http://www.aci-na.org/docs/70_FeganLettertoAirports.doc

LoneStarMike
 

mweiss

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sfb said:
The money that the public pays directly through PFC's, parking fees, car rental fees, etc. and indirectly through landing fees, terminal rents, etc. charged to the airlines. In the end, it's the consumer that pays even if property or sales taxes aren't directly tapped.
By that definition, the money paid by Pepsi for their Super Bowl ad was public money. :rolleyes:

And in any case, DFW's propaganda site is riddled with exaggerations, misstatements, and outright lies.
That may well be true, but it's their money. They earn the money by charging rent (in various forms) for the use of their facilities. As long as they don't do anything libelous, they're free to say what they wish.

This is not meant to imply that I agree with what they're doing. I may not agree with what they say, but I will defend (albeit halfheartedly) to my death their right to say it.
 

sfb

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mweiss said:
By that definition, the money paid by Pepsi for their Super Bowl ad was public money.

Well, not quite. It's only public money if members of the public choose to buy Pepsi products -- but there are many more palatable alternatives like Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper, 7-Up, water, milk, etc. In contrast, if members of the public wish to travel to and from the Metroplex from outside the Wright perimeter, the palatable alternatives are far more limited (i.e. driving to BNA or STL is a day's affair).

Moreover, being owned by the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, the people are the ultimate owners of the airport, and as such, all assets of the airport are ostensibly public. The airport also benefits from various government grants and subsidies used to build its infrastructure.
 

LoneStarMike

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Here's one possible reply to DFW I saw posted on another board,

February 9, 2005

Dear Mr. Fegan:

Last time I was in Las Vegas, a man came up to me in the hotel lobby. At the roulette wheel, he bet his life savings on black. Unfortunately, the ball landed on red. He asked for my sympathy and spare change. I was only able to satisfy one of his requests.

I have an airport to run. I and our airport board are responsible to our region and its needs. This mandate does not extend to bailing out an airport in another state just because they gambled on increased air traffic and lost.

Enclosed please find the world's smallest violin, on which you may play "My Heart Bleeds For You".

Sincerely,

John "Lucky" Doe
Chief Executive Officer
Gotham City International Airport
 

JS

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sfb said:
I can name at least a dozen airports in the U.S which are "more dominated by a single carrier." CSG, for example, has a single air carrier -- Delta Connection/ASA. In Texas, BRO only sees service from Continental. LNS is served only by US Airways Express. PVC is "dominated" by Cape Air. These are all "commercial airports" with a single carrier. Moreover, it is more apt to say that Southwest has prospered in spite of the Wright Amendment restrictions; the W.A. certainly holds little responsibility for Southwest's success.
[post="246417"][/post]​

You missed the point. The sum total daily passengers at most of these dinky little monopoly airports could fit in just one 737.
 

KCFlyer

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JS said:
You missed the point. The sum total daily passengers at most of these dinky little monopoly airports could fit in just one 737.
[post="246686"][/post]​

Maybe so...but the claim was that no other commercial airport and all of the mentioned airports, regardless of how small, fit the definition of "commercial airport".
 

JS

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Obviously DFW should have used the term "major airport" or "major airline" to be crystal-clear, but I guess they falsely assumed their readers could figure that out themselves.
 

KCFlyer

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JS said:
Obviously DFW should have used the term "major airport" or "major airline" to be crystal-clear, but I guess they falsely assumed their readers could figure that out themselves.
[post="246824"][/post]​

No...they were just "spinning" to their advantage..."Major airports" tends to shift that number down to 20 or so airports...not terribly impressive. "no other commercial airport" seems to indicate that in this vast land, there are no other airports that have such a majority as LUV at Love. That's not true. Furthermore, those "dinky little airports" that were cited most likely have significantly higher airfares than DAL. For that matter, MSP tends to have significanly high

Now, if I were the airport manager in Las Vegas or Baltimore or LAX, and my goal was to INCREASE business at my airport, supporting an amendment to protect high airfares out of DFW would be the last thing I'd want to do. Sure....DFW blames LUV for losing out on a "potential LCC tenent" at DFW...but the fact of the matter is that DFW's largest tenent has repeatedly shown that they don't really want LCC competition in their playground of DFW.
 

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