Sky Talk

No. 4 Delta Air Lines fights to keep Dallas Love Field gates


The year started off with four major airlines flying out of Dallas Love Field: Southwest Airlines, Virgin America, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

But in January, United gave the use of its two gates to Southwest after the two airlines struck a deal transferring the leases. As a result, Southwest had control of 18 of the 20 gates at Dallas Love Field and the other two gates were controlled by Virgin America.

Delta, which had been leasing United’s gate space to operate five daily flights to Atlanta, soon found itself the odd man out. Southwest temporarily allowed Delta to continue flying out of those gates until the summer but when Southwest planned to increase its schedule to 180 daily flights in August, Southwest said there was no more room.

The two sides and the city of Dallas went to court in June, suing each other to find out if Southwest could be forced to give Delta gate space.

A three-day temporary injunction hearing was held in Dallas in the courtroom of federal judge Ed Kinkeade. During the hearing, Delta accused Southwest of illegally paying United $120 million for the two gates. Southwest countered that the payment was similar to slot deals at other airports like New York’s LaGuardia.

Kinkeade, who filled the courtroom with humor along with the creation of his own Baylor Airlines to understand the complexities of the case, said he would rule quickly on the case.

Three months later, we’re still waiting for a ruling from Kinkeade. So for now, it’s Southwest, Virgin America and Delta all together at Love Field.