a letter from gary kelly
chairman, president and ceo
Adios, Wright Amendment; Hello, America!
“Hurrah!”—that is the collective cheer of all 45,000-plus Southwest Airlines Employees, as this month we are finally released from the shackles of the Wright Amendment. The 1979 passage of this law made our home of Dallas Love Field the first and only airport in the United States to be restricted to a small service area. (Direct flights out of the airport were limited to destinations in Texas and its neighboring states. Later, those limits expanded to include Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas, and Missouri). Ten years ago, we set out to repeal this restriction and led a successful effort to overturn the Wright Amendment, which officially expires on October 13, 2014, at 12:01 a.m. But who’s counting?
This is big news for Southwest and anyone who travels to and from Dallas, and we’re not wasting any time when it comes to exploring our newfound freedom. Beginning October 13, we are proud to offer nonstop service from Dallas Love Field to five new destinations: Baltimore/Washington, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Chicago Midway. We’ll quickly add another ten on November 2, including New York City and San Diego. And that’s just the beginning!
Fittingly, our added Dallas flights will take off or land at the recently revitalized Love Field, which now boasts more than 20 new concessions and a brand new infrastructure rivaling that of the world’s best airports. These updates were part of the Love Field Modernization Program, which we spearheaded in anticipation of the Wright Amendment’s expiration. The program also updated the airport’s aesthetic; for example, the artwork now on display there is modern but retains a sense of the history for which Love Field is known. The new Love Field is a showpiece for the city of Dallas, and its convenient, close-to downtown location provides even more benefits for our Customers.
The repeal of the Wright Amendment allows us to finally carry people where they want to go from our hometown airport, giving Customers access to our vast network and making Dallas more accessible for the rest of the country. The city now joins eight other major metro areas in the United States that have more than one airport providing longhaul domestic service. This means more flights, more destinations, more choices, and lower fares to and from North Texas.
So please join us as we bid farewell to the Wright Amendment this month. I have a new appreciation for the phrase “It took an act of Congress.” Well, it did, and we’re now free to move about the country from our home, Dallas Love Field. We hope you will join us. What a feeling!
Chairman, President and CEO