DENTON (UNT), Texas — Longtime restrictions on airlines flying out of Dallas Love Field will be lifted Oct. 13 as the Wright Amendment ends. How will that affect travelers? What kind of competition will travelers see between airlines?
Steve Joiner, a lecturer of logistics in the UNT College of Business who leads UNT's aviation logistics program, and David Strutton, professor of marketing in the UNT College of Business, are available to comment on the upcoming changes.
What is the Wright Amendment?
Joiner: “The Wright Amendment was legislation passed by Congress to protect Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport -- which was fairly new at the time -- from destructive competition.”
How has Southwest Airlines, which has always been based at Dallas Love Field, addressed marketing to prepare for the end of the Wright Amendment?
Strutton: “Even though they already had a strong branding image, they are remarketing themselves, or rebranding themselves, I should say. They are now positioning themselves as ‘the airline with a heart,’ which not only plays into the Love Field aspect of things, but it also plays into this image that Southwest Airlines has carefully cultivated and actually delivered. [They want to show], in fact, that they do demonstrate at least a bit more love to their customers, and their customers love them back.”
What impact will the end of the Wright Amendment have on the public?
Joiner: “I think for the flying public, for the business traveler, I think it's good news, because the business travelers are still the biggest customer, and they'll have more destinations they can get to non-stop with less hassles. As far as the vacation traveler, you may see some of that pick up a little bit. But since Love Field's departures and arrivals are restricted from being international, anyone that’s planning on going to the Caribbean or Mexico or someplace like that, if they fly out of Love Field, would have to stop at another city in the United States and catch a flight internationally.”
What kind of competition will we see between the airlines?
Strutton: “There will be a little bit of competition. It’s interesting when we talk about Virgin [Airlines] and Southwest. They have always been the two cool kids when it comes to airlines. Yet Southwest has been the profitable one, and, at least in the United States, Virgin has never made a profit. So sure there will be a little bit of competition, which is again good for the ticket-buying public.”
How will the Dallas-Fort Worth area be impacted?
Joiner: “We will see an increase of flights, obviously. [Dallas Love Field] may get to their full capacity of the 20-gate restriction sooner than later, which could put some stress on the infrastructure around the airport such as the roads and the parking garages, but the only other thing we will see is some price competition at least in the outset. And then we will probably settle down, and then everyone will just go about their business.”
Will the public notice changes among airline competitors?
Strutton: “Ironically, it’s probably also going to be good for American Airlines, in so far as it’s going to create a situation that they continue to have to have their game on and get more efficient themselves. I’m not saying that, in so far as American Airlines has been doing a bad job, it’s just that they have to be on their game.”
Joiner can be reached at email@example.com, 940-565-3085 (office) or 214-693-3866 (cell).
Strutton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 940-565-3123 (office) or by cell at 940-368-5696 (cell).