Editorials

Dallas controls any gate shuffle at Love Field

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Alaska Airlines planes shown parked Monday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.
Alaska Airlines planes shown parked Monday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. AP

Monday’s announcement that Alaska Airlines will buy Virgin America for $2.6 billion brings up a familiar question: What will happen to the two gates Virgin America operates at Dallas Love Field?

There’s a familiar answer: It doesn’t matter a whole lot, so long as the city of Dallas, which owns Love Field, stays tightly in control and maintains the gate limit at 20.

Virgin America won a stiff competition for the two gates in 2014 when American Airlines gave them up to meet federal stipulations for its merger with US Airways. Alaska will get those gates.

Alaska already operates five flights a day at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. If the carrier decides to stay there, competition for the Love Field gates surely will flare again.

Love Field is limited to 20 gates under a 2006 regional agreement and federal law. Dallas has to live up to it.

Virgin America is seen as having increased competition and lowered fares at Love Field in the markets it has served, including San Francisco and New York. Another airline could do the same.

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