Things are coming to a head in Delta’s battle to keep its presence at Dallas Love Field, where its five daily flights to Atlanta are facing a July 6 deadline.
That’s the date when a temporary pact between Delta and Southwest ends; it provides that Delta can use Southwest gate space until that date, but after that, Southwest wants Delta out.
The Transportation Department has intervened in the dispute, and this week it sent a letter to Dallas city officials reiterating its insistence that city-owned Love Field find a way to accommodate Delta’s service. Southwest leases 18 of the airport’s 20 gates; Virgin America holds the other two.
The letter from the Transportation Department suggested that if Dallas didn’t find a way to provide space for Delta at reasonable rates, it could be disqualified from receiving federal government grants.
Southwest Airlines responded with a statement saying it disagrees with DOT’s guidance on the use of Love Field gates “by non-tenant airlines like Delta. That guidance not only violates Southwest’s legal and contractual rights but would also reduce competition, costing consumers millions of dollars in higher airfares,” Southwest said.
The airline noted that it has already scheduled and started selling tickets on additional flights out of Love that will keep all of its 18 gates busy after August 9 with “an industry-leading gate utilization of 10 flights a day per gate.”
The City of Dallas this week filed a suit in federal court, asking a judge to intervene and specify what the city must do before the July 6 deadline. Stay tuned.
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