By Alex Paez
For decades, Southwest Airlines enjoyed an unprecedented reign over the Dallas Love Field Airport. However, recent legislation opened the door to new competitors of Southwest. Historically, direct air travel out of Love Field was restricted to a small number of nearby states. In 2014, Congress lifted the interstate ban on air travel to and from Love Field through the Wright Amendment Reform Act (WARA). This change brought about a renewed interest from airlines seeking to service flights out of Love Field. Recently, in City of Dallas v. Delta Air Lines, the Fifth Circuit ordered the City of Dallas to force Southwest to continue its subleasing arrangement with Delta Air Lines (Delta) while Delta pursues its litigation efforts to obtain a primary lease agreement. The court’s analysis primarily centered around competing interpretations within contract law and whether Delta enjoyed rights as a third-party beneficiary to the leasing arrangement between the City and Southwest. In doing so, the court participated in an otherwise superfluous analysis of the parties’ competing interpretations and ignored the bigger picture by failing to fully analyze WARA and the limitations it imposes on the underlying leasing contracts.
Alex Paez, Note, New Entrant Airlines and Federal Grant Assurances: The End of Southwest’s Dominant Presence at Love Field, 84 J. Air L. & Com. 143 (2019).