Southwest Airlines is ready to spread its wings at Love Field when the Wright Amendment expires. It announced Monday where it plans to fly.
Beginning on Oct. 13, Southwest will add five cities to the list on nonstop destinations. They are Baltimore/Washington (BWI), Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago Midway.
Another 10 will be added in November including Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Los Angeles (LAX), Nashville, New York (LaGuardia), Orange County/Santa Ana, Phoenix, San Diego, Tampa and Washington D.C. (Reagan).
"We'll have a lot more flight options from two different airports. Both airports compete with each other and that's what the U.S. is all about. It's just a very exciting time," said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines CEO.
Kelly, co-founder and former CEO Herb Kelleher, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson were there for the announcement at Love Field Monday morning. They called the Wright Amendment antiquated and said it should have been gone away with long ago.
"I've only been involved in the fracas over love Field for 34 years, so it feels pretty good to me!" said Kelleher. "It's kind of like getting rid of a whole case of Wild Turkey for free!!"
Rawlings calls the announcement a win for Dallas, and the business community agrees.
"It's probably one of the single biggest things to happen for the convention and visitors industry in Dallas, ever," said Phillip Jones, CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The 1979 law protected DFW Airport from competition by limiting where direct flights could go from Love Field. It expires in October, freeing Southwest and a handful of other airlines at the airport to go anywhere in the United States.
Experts believe airfares in at DFW Airport and Love Field should decrease, benefiting local fliers.
"American will be forced to match," said Rick Seaney of FareCompare.com said of Southwest's fares.
"We're going to see introductory pricing," said Seaney. "Usually between four and six months of discounts, 30 to 50 percent. Especially if you travel on days like Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday."
The direct flights can't come soon enough for passengers at Love Field.
"The last time I traveled I waited an hour and a half between flights. When I travel it's due to work. So having to wait and not being able to fly nonstop is kind of a pain," said Kaela Robinson.
Imad Baleute is among the business travelers who've been anxiously awaiting more non-stops from Love.
"I think it's great news for everybody who flies every week," said Baleute.
The flights will be available for booking in May.
KDFW FOX 4
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