Virgin America's securing of two gates at Dallas Love Field should start to give Southwest some competition from the airport as flying restrictions are lifted.
Virgin America won the Dallas Love Field sweepstakes, and picked up two gates that American Airlines agreed to divest as part of the American Airlines-U.S. Airways merger settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.
[Update: Although Virgin America says the DOJ has signed off on American’s transfer of the gates to Virgin America, the City of Dallas, which owns the gates, says no decision has been made, and it has scheduled a news conference for April 28 on the issue. A DOJ spokesperson declined to comment.]
Virgin America conducted a media event at the airport April 25, and announced it would begin flying in October from Dallas Love Field to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.
The San Francisco-based airline punctuated its launch announcement with a series of promotional sales, including $79 flights plus taxes and fees, and plenty of restrictions.
Southwest currently controls 90% of the traffic at Love Field, according to Virgin America.
The win for Virgin America at Dallas Love Field comes after it also picked up landing and departure rights at DCA and LGA.
Flight operations from Dallas Love Field, where Southwest is headquartered, had long been restricted as a way to protect operations at the larger Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Passenger service from Love Field had been restricted to airports within Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
Those restrictions were lifted, effective October 2014.
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Photo credit: The first Virgin America flights land in San Francisco, California, August 8, 2007. John Decker / Reuters