Next move is up to American with Virgin’s future at Love Field

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on May 2, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Updated Friday, May 2 at 7:04 PM

DALLAS – Construction isn't even finished on the two gates in question and neither is the paperwork that might be key to moving Virgin America to Dallas Love Field, News 8 learned Friday.

"American Airlines and Virgin have not submitted a lease to the City of Dallas saying 'We want those gates,'" said Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins during a taping of Inside Texas Politics, which will air at 9 a.m. Sunday on WFAA. "Until they do that no decision will be made."

Atkins also revealed that other airlines are still lobbying the city for the two gates.

“Well, Southwest is lobbying, also Delta Airlines is lobbying,” he added.

American's lease at Love Field lasts another 14 years. The airline had to give it up to merge with US Airways.

Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, is coming to Dallas next Monday and Tuesday to urge the city award the gates to Virgin America.

The Dallas city manager — not the city council — will ultimately decide which airline gets the two prized gates. While council members don't have final say, they may be asked for guidance.

City Manager A.C. Gonzalez spent $50,000 to study the gate issue, Atkins said. But neither Atkins nor Mayor Mike Rawlings would not say which airline they prefer.

"I am for the citizens of Dallas getting the best option that's out there,” Rawlings told News 8. “We're going to be looking at it. I want to hear everybody's thoughts on it. I will support the city manager and however he makes that decision."

It’s uncertain when American and Virgin will agree on a sub-lease or how long the city manager might take to decide whether to approve it.

"I don't know,” Rawlings added. “We're going to talk about it on Wednesday and then I've asked the city manager to come back and talk to me about the process."

Email jwhitely@wfaa.com
 

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