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Southwest Airlines Counts Down To Wright Amendment End

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At this time next year, travelers at Dallas Love Field like Deborah Pinnell will be able to fly non-stop to their destination instead of stopping in another Texas city or surrounding state first.

Pinnell says, “Thank God because it makes travel from Dallas Love Field very difficult.”

She and many other Southwest passengers here certainly haven’t loved the flight restrictions that have been in place for nearly 35 years.

Known as the Wright Amendment, the restrictions were designed to boost a fledgling DFW International airport.

Then, in 2006, a deal was struck to end the Wright Amendment on October 13, 2014.

On Monday, Southwest Airlines unveiled a new billboard campaign and clock at its corporate headquarters to begin the year-long countdown.

Clock counting down to the end of the Wright Amendment sits in Southwest Airlines Corporate HQ lobby in Dallas. (credit: Southwest Airlines)

Clock counting down to the end of the Wright Amendment sits in Southwest Airlines Corporate HQ lobby in Dallas. (credit: Southwest Airlines)

Ron Ricks, an executive vice-president at Southwest, says it has already offered good deals out of Love, and promises more to come.

“When you get to the October 13, 2014, when you can do that on non-stop basis, we would think the affect would be even more dramatic.”

Ricks wouldn’t say what nonstop destinations Southwest will offer next fall, but experts predict the airline will offer nonstop flights to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Orlando to name a few.

For its part, American Airlines says it’s taken tremendous steps to prepare for the additional competition next October — adding destinations from its DFW hub and buying new airplanes.

Tom Parsons of the Bestfares.com website says, “This is going to be two guerillas, two guerillas in the sky fighting very much for our business.”

Parsons says the competition will lower airfares.  “They’ll be competitive and that will force American to keep their fares to a reasonable amount of money.”

He says Southwest won’t be able to offer as many nonstop flights as American does at DFW Airport because Southwest is limited to just 16 gates at Love Field.

Rick Seaney of the website FareCompare.com predicts airfares starting next October could be the lowest we’ve seen in North Texas in four years.

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