DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — With the restrictive Wright Amendment expiring this fall, Southwest Airlines plans to start nonstop flights between Dallas and New York and 14 other cities.
The new service will put Southwest — once a scrappy underdog — in head-to-head competition with American and maybe Delta.
Southwest announced Monday that it will fly from Love Field to five cities on Oct. 13 and 10 more on Nov. 2.
In October, the airline will launch nonstop service to Baltimore/Washington, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Chicago (Midway).
The November additions will include Atlanta, Nashville, Washington D.C. (Reagan), Ft. Lauderdale, New York (LaGuardia), Phoenix, San Diego, Orange County, and Tampa.
“Beginning this fall Southwest Airlines will add 15 new non-stop destinations from Dallas Love Field,” Southwest’s President and CEO told reporters and cheering Southwest employees at Love Field Monday Morning. The airline will announce specific flight schedules and fares in May, giving customers their first opportunity to book flights on the newest routes.
Passengers at Love generally welcomed the news.
“It definitely makes my business travel a lot more convenient. I prefer Southwest even though I have to take stops now,” Larry Biggers told CBS 11 News.
Zakiya Everett added, ” Going to more places. I personally enjoy warm weather, so going to Florida and places like that, it’s a great thing.”
Those routes are currently off-limits to Southwest’s Boeing 737 jets because of a 1980 law designed to protect nearby Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Under the Wright Amendment, as the law was called, planes bigger than 56 seats could only fly from Love Field to other cities in Texas and a few nearby states.
Meanwhile, the man for whom the amendment was named says it’s probably time to let it go.
“Let me just say I think it probably has served it’s purpose,” said former Fort Worth Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representative, Jim Wright.
He told CBS 11 News it was never about hurting Dallas but advancing what was then a fledgling D-FW Regional Airport.
“I’m glad I had the privilege of protecting and building and growth and development of DFW.”
Last week, the airline announced that it would add international destinations for the first time in its 43 year history. The airline will fly nonstop to Aruba, Jamaica and The Bahamas starting in July.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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