Sky Talk

Delta, Southwest reach temporary agreement on gate space at Love Field

Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines reached a temporary agreement on Wednesday to allow Delta to continue operating flights out of Dallas Love Field as legal issues are resolved.

The agreement will be in place until a federal court in Dallas holds a hearing to decide whether or not the city of Dallas has to accommodate Delta’s request to keep access to gate space at Love Field even though Southwest Airlines holds the lease to those gates. Southwest was pressing for Delta to leave early next month.

“Delta is pleased that Southwest has agreed to continue accommodating the five flights Delta currently operates at Love Field while the airlines pursue a long-term resolution in the courts,” the Atlanta-based airline said in a statement.

Demand for gates at Love Field has become an issue since last fall’s expiration of the Wright Amendment, which had restricted flights to nearby states.

Currently, Delta offers five daily flights to Atlanta out of Love Field but its temporary agreement with Southwest to use gate space was set to expire on July 6. Southwest plans to expand its flight schedule to 180 daily flights out of Love Field by August and the Dallas-based carrier said it needs all 18 of the 20 gates it controls for the expanded service.

“I can confirm that we have an agreement in principle to temporarily extend Delta’s license agreement while we await the opportunity for the court to hear our arguments,” said Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins in an e-mail statement.

The court had originally scheduled a hearing on Monday to hear emergency motions in the case, but that has now been canceled. A full hearing in the case, which was filed by the city of Dallas last week, has not been set.

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631

Twitter: @Sky_Talk