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Delta seeks injunction to retain gate space at Dallas Love Field

More legal briefs were filed this week in Dallas’ lawsuit asking a federal judge whether Delta Air Lines should be allowed to continue operating flights to Atlanta from Love Field.
More legal briefs were filed this week in Dallas’ lawsuit asking a federal judge whether Delta Air Lines should be allowed to continue operating flights to Atlanta from Love Field. Star-Telegram archives

The fight over gates at Dallas Love Field continues.

On Tuesday, Delta Air Lines asked for a temporary restraining order to keep Dallas-based Southwest Airlines from kicking Delta out of its gate space after July 6.

“Delta will suffer irreparable harm if the temporary restraining order does not issue; the balance of harms weighs in Delta’s favor; and issuance of a temporary restraining order will serve the public interest,” the legal filing said.

That filing followed Southwest’s request for a court order declaring it the “sole lawful operator” of the gates, as well as a lawsuit by Dallas asking a judge to sort out the mess.

Demand for gates at Love Field became an issue last fall after the expiration of the Wright Amendment, which had restricted flights to nearby states.

Southwest has expanded its schedule from Love and plans to add more flights this summer. Southwest and Delta had reached a temporary agreement to allow Delta to continue flying until July 6.

In its filings, Southwest claims that Delta plans to “trespass” at its Love Field gate after the lease expires.

“As noted in our request of the court, Delta continues a pattern of disregard for passengers by knowingly selling tickets beyond its legal authority to operate at Love Field,” Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said Monday. “Delta can solve the problem it created by moving these passengers traveling to/from/through Atlanta to numerous flights Delta already operates from DFW International Airport which, unlike Love Field, has an abundance of available gate space.”

On Friday, Delta sent a letter warning Dallas that it would seek a temporary injunction if the city did not allow Delta to continue using gate space at Love Field. The letter said that the city has been told twice by the Transportation Department to accommodate other airlines at the airport and that Delta has waited over a year.

“The city appears to be engaged in anti-competitive, collusive behavior that ultimately hurts the traveling public by reducing competition and travel choices at Love Field,” Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter said in an email last week.

“Unless the city can live up to its obligation under federal law and accommodate Delta’s five daily flights to Atlanta, Delta will have no choice but to file for emergency injunctive relief to avoid disrupting thousands of passengers.”

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631

Twitter: @Sky_Talk

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