Does Alliance Airport violate the Wright Amendment

Back before DFW Airport was built, Dallas’s airport was Love Field (DAL), which is located near the center of the city. In order to get the funding for DFW, Congress passed a law called the Wright Amendment which in the conventional view restricts Love Field to short flights in order to keep it from competing with DFW. The only significant airline presence at Love is Southwest which started there and is still headquartered there. Southwest has been trying for years to get the restrictions of the Wright Amendment lifted so that it can fly normal length flights out of Love. American Airlines, which is headquartered at DFW, has been fighting to keep the restrictions so that it doesn’t have to compete against Southwest in the Dallas market and the city of Fort Worth has been fighting along with them because they are afraid that if Love reopens for full flights that will reduce the value of their investment in DFW.

Into this comes the Enplaned, which has an article called Ft Worth Alliance Airport: Wright Hypocrisy that argues that Fort Worth, for all its determination to enforce the Wright Amendment at Love Field, may have violated at least the spirit and maybe the letter of the Wright Amendment itself when it built Alliance Airport in Fort Worth.

In conjunction with building DFW, the cities of Dallas and Ft Worth signed covenants for the bonds that were sold to fund the airport. In it, the two cities agreed not to do anything that would undermine the prospects of DFW. In particular, they agreed to prevent certificated air service at any municipal airport other than DFW…The interesting thing is that the relevant covenant makes no distinction between cargo and passenger service, yet in 1997, Fedex (which is without question a certificated air carrier) opened its southwest hub at AFW.

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One Response to Does Alliance Airport violate the Wright Amendment

  1. Wylie H. says:

    You’re spot on. It’s a real mystery to me as to why this has never been fully discussed.

    Of course, its a mystery to me as to why the Dallas City Council continues to harass one of the most respected companies in the U.S.– a company which is also one of the City’s largest employers and taxpayers.

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