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Southwest Eyeing DFW Airport Service

The airline has built a history around its Dallas Love Field home.

A Southwest 737-800 takes off in Los Angeles. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Bucking its long-standing operation to Dallas Love Field, Southwest is looking to add flights at DFW Airport. At Skift’s Aviation Forum in Fort Worth, the airline’s CEO Bob Jordan confirmed plans for a ‘modest presence’ at the larger airport in the DFW Metroplex, which is American Airlines’ largest hub.

Southwest has a long and complex history in the DFW Metroplex. In its over 50 year history, the carrier has never entered DFW Airport, thanks to an agreement born out of the 1979 Wright Amendment.

To protect the newer DFW Airport, U.S. Representative Jim Wright and Southwest agreed to only fly in Texas and states nearby. According to the Fort Worth Report, that agreement limited Southwest’s network expansion across North Texas as well. The agreement ends in 2025.

International Expansion

The 2025 end date coincides with DFW Airport’s planned opening of Terminal F in 2026. The new $1.63 billion terminal project will feature 15 gates.

The airline’s COO Andrew Watterson shared a bit more insight into Southwest’s DFW Airport plan at a media luncheon during the forum. Watterson confirmed that the carrier asked for space in Terminal F.

DFW would be a compliment to Love Field, which Watterson says is not sufficient for serving the entire DFW Metroplex. While a modest market size according to Watterson, adding service to DFW Airport could open the door for international operations, which Southwest can’t do at Love Field.

Southwest first took flight from Dallas Love Field in 1971. The company’s headquarters are located adjacent to the airport.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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