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Southwest Airlines resisted operating at DFW Airport a half-century ago. Now it's reconsidering

Southwest Airlines has called Dallas Love Field its home for 52 years, but now it’s interested in getting gates at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport too

ByThe Associated Press

November 1, 2023, 8:42 PM

FORT WORTH, Texas — Southwest Airlines says it is interested in operating flights at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the massive airfield that it rejected a half-century ago, when it was a tiny carrier with just a few planes.

Southwest officials said Wednesday they have approached DFW representatives about getting gates in a proposed new Terminal F because there’s no more room for expansion at Dallas Love Field, the airline’s longtime home.

“Dallas Love Field has been very good to us. It’s a wonderful facility,” Southwest CEO Robert Jordan. “But it is constrained.”

Love Field has only 20 gates — Southwest controls 18 of them — and can’t expand under a 2006 federal law. That measure, which updated a 1979 law called the Wright Amendment, also bars Southwest from operating at DFW, but only until 2025.

A DFW representative said the airport has had “preliminary discussions” with Southwest about the airline operating a moderate number of flights from DFW. No decisions are expected until 2024 at the earliest, the spokesman said.

American Airlines dominates service at DFW and American also would like more gates, according to the airport. DFW, the third-busiest airport in the world, has 168 gates spread across five terminals.

Southwest resisted moving to DFW when it opened in 1973. The airline went to court to remain at Love Field, where — free of competition from bigger airlines — it prospered.

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