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. With D-Day scheduled for Tuesday, July 7, creative minds dreamed up all sorts of chaos scenarios at the airport. My personal favorite, courtesy of the Dallas Morning News’ Terry Maxon, involved Delta jets blocking Southwest gates. Southwest employees then simultaneously locked 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. That process appears likely to take several months, however. At the apparent urging of the judge in charge of the case, both airlines agreed to stand down. At least until he hears the case. 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 grew increasingly ugly in recent weeks. Both Delta and Southwest filed requests for temporary restraining orders against each other. Delta demanded that Southwest not be able to evict it from the airport. Meanwhile, Southwest demanded that the court order Delta to leave immediately. Dallas officials then asked for a TRO against both parties. Finally, though, showing its cards, Dallas sided with Southwest’s interpretation that it can kick Delta out of the airport. Therefore, it’s good to see the three ring circus on hiatus for now while the courts sort out the mess.