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Dallas Love Field Gates Still Up For Grabs

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Just days after Virgin America unveiled brand new routes out of Dallas Love Field, it is being discovered that the flights might never take off. A consultant will brief Dallas city leaders Monday about why Southwest Airlines — not Virgin America — should own the airport’s two available gates.

In a presentation for city leaders, the consultant will explain why Southwest Airlines is a better option for Dallas Love Field, and for North Texas travelers. That presentation will say that Southwest Airlines would use the two gates more often, and that the carrier would offer more non-stop flights than its competitors.

However, on Friday morning, Virgin America put together a big news conference to announce that it had already basically won the two available gates at Dallas Love Field. The CEO of the company said that his airline has the approval from the Department of Justice and American Airlines, which is in the process of giving up those gates as part of an agreement in their merger with US Airways.

Virgin America CEO David Cush did mention that the City of Dallas, which owns Dallas Love Field, had not yet officially given approval. But the airline was confident that the city would side with them, which is why tickets went on sale Friday morning. “We’ve done our homework with the city council,” Cush said. “I’ve met with all but two city council members face-to-face and explained what we’re trying to do.”

“We’ve made our case to the Justice Department and obviously they have a different view. But, in any event, I think everyone agrees that the city owns the airport, it’s up to the city to decide,” said Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly on Monday.

City leaders will be listening to the consultant’s presentation on Monday to hear what is said about who should take over those two gates. Virgin America believes that the consultant’s study is flawed because it leaves out the benefits of competition at Dallas Love Field — which experts said could lower airfares — and the number of jobs which will be added.

A statement from Virgin America read, “We respect the city’s process and are confident they will quickly support our entry into Love Field given both the significant positive impact that our flights will have on fares and traffic stimulation, and the clear legal precedent that has been established with these transfers in the past.”

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