Delta Scores Major Win at Love Field
Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines
A federal judge on Friday ruled that Delta Air Lines can continue to operate its gates and its five daily flights out of Dallas’ Love Field to Atlanta.
It’s a blow to Southwest Airlines, which controls 18 of the 20 gates at Love Field but had to share gates with Delta. But although Atlanta-based Delta won this round, the legal battle will continue. U.S. District Court Judge Ed Kinkeade’s ruling was only a temporary injunction.
“The Court finds the chaos and inconvenience of disrupted service by removing Delta from Love Field before the legal issues are decided would be a great disservice to the public,” Kinkeade wrote in his ruling. “Forcing Delta to cease flight operations at Love Field would necessarily require its passengers to be rebooked on a Delta flight from another airport or to have their ticket purchase refunded, requiring them to find alternate travel arrangements, possibly at greater expense if on short notice.”
Love Field has become the most hotly contested airport battle in the country, even more so than Delta’s battle with Alaska Airlines in Seattle. In addition to Delta trying to maintain its flights at Love Field, Virgin America was awarded gate space at Love in a much ballyhooed and publicized battle in which even Sir Richard Branson himself became involved.
The battle between Delta and Southwest has been going on for more than a year. United had gate space at Love Field but transferred the leases – including leases to Delta – to Southwest for $120 million. Southwest had an agreement with Delta that allowed the carrier to use the gates through July of 2015, but when Delta began adding more flights out of Love Field, Southwest asked a judge to end the deal earlier.
"This isn't the end of this case, and we are evaluating our future options," Southwest said in a statement. "Southwest plans to continue serving our customers with 50 nonstop destinations with 180 flights a day."
In addition to the five flights daily out of Love Field, Delta also has daily flights out of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, giving it something of advantage over Southwest since Southwest cannot add flights at DFW without giving up current gates at Love Field.
More by Rich Thomaselli
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