Monday, July 17, 2006
As those in Dallas or those who travel through DFW know, the 1978 Wright Amendment restricts the ability of Southwest Airlines to fly directly out of Dallas Love Field to destinations beyond states contiguous to Texas. The Amendment was justified as promoting the then newly completed Dallas Fort Woth International Airport by limiting some competition for nearby Love Field, that was supposed to close down. Recently, there has been much debate in Dallas about lifting the Wright Amendment if Southwest were to move its service from Love Field to nearby DFW, something Southwest is reluctant to do given the goodwill it has developed through Love Field, which is considerably closer to downtown Dallas than DFW.
A few weeks ago an agreement was struck among the Cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, the DFW Board, Southwest and American to allocate gate spaces, allow fly through ticketing from Love Field for Southwest, and to relax the Wright Amendment within eight years. The City of Dallas also intends to shut down Legend Terminal at Love Field under its eminent domain powers. The lessees of the terminal filed a law suit in the Northern District of Texas challenging this agreement under the antitrust laws. The complaint is below.
The complaint raises some solid issues. I wonder however whether standing and state action immunity might pose a hurdle to the suit. These hurdles are not insurmountable but do pose challenges. I will post as the case progresses.