Before embarking on UPGRD’s European Vacation, I had reported on the deteriorating political situation at Dallas Love Field, notably, Southwest and Virgin America wanting to kick Delta out of the airport, Delta threatening to sue if the City of Dallas refused to let them keep operating, and the city just wanting to punt the whole thing to the federal courts. D-Day was scheduled for Tuesday, July 7, with creative minds dreaming up all sorts of chaos scenarios at the airport that morning. My personal favorite, courtesy of the Dallas Morning News’ Terry Maxon involved Delta jets blocking Southwest gates, with Southwest employees simultaneously locking the jetbridge doors.
While I was vacationing, though, per Maxon, Delta and Southwest agreed to a temporary cease-fire, allowing Delta to continue operating its five flights a day to Atlanta out of the airport for now. “For now” being the operative term, as the agreement runs only until the courts resolve the flurry of competing lawsuits as to who exactly has the right to operate from the airport. That process is likely to take several months, however, and so at the apparent urging of the judge in charge of the case, both airlines agreed to stand down the nuclear weapons until the case can be heard. Left unresolved, however, is Delta’s request to begin eight new flights beginning August 15, with two flights each to Delta hubs Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City, along with American’s request for gate space to operate four flights daily to unspecified city pairs. Those requests will most likely have to wait until the court case is ultimately decided, probably later this fall.
The dispute had grown increasingly ugly, with both Delta and Southwest filing requests for temporary restraining orders against each other, Delta demanding that Southwest not be able to evict it from the airport, with Southwest demanding that Delta be told to leave immediately. Meanwhile, Dallas officials asked for a TRO against both parties, but also, finally, showing its cards, siding with Southwest’s interpretation that it has the right to kick Delta out of the aiport. Therefore, it’s good to see that the three ring circus will be on hiatus for the time being while the courts sort out the mess.