Decision to come by Friday on open Love Field gates

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by SHON GABLES

WFAA

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 7 at 12:27 PM

DALLAS -- There could soon be more options when it comes to airlines flying out of Dallas Love Field Airport.

The Dallas City Council is hearing from two airlines hoping to get the two gates up for grabs Wednesday. Dallas City Manager AC Gonzalez said he'll make a decision by Friday.

Members are in executive session Wednesday, reviewing a study that says Southwest Airlines should be awarded the gates at Love Field. This is in contrast to the findings from the Federal Department of Justice that claim the gates should go to Virgin America.

Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, has already made the case for Virgin America to get them over Southwest Airlines.

"Southwest, they've done incredible things in America, but they're now the biggest airline in America," Branson told a crowd at a Dallas event earlier this week. "They're no longer the 'David,' they're the 'Goliath.' And sometimes the Goliath needs a little bit of competition."

Southwest is now making a major social push of their own for the gates, which were left open when American Airlines moved out of the airport due to the company's merger with US Airways.

Southwest is asking supporters online to send e-mails to city officials in support of the airline. The company's CEO Gary Kelly spoke outside of City Hall on Wednesday and told supporters what he's asking of the council.

"Well we're simply going to reiterate what we've been saying. The city has already sanctioned its own independent study, which says Southwest is the best opportunity to grow in the city of Dallas," he said. "We've done our own independent study that confirms that. And I think most experts would agree with that."

Kelly went on to say, "We have the potential to add more flights, more low fares, more destinations. It'll generate more traffic out of Dallas. We're the low-fare leader in the United States of America and we'll save over $200 million in air fares if you have Southwest with these two additional gates. Obviously, this is our home. This is where our people live."

Southwest Airlines promises to reduce fares of nearly $100 per round trip in 12 new markets, if awarded the gates at Love Field.

Kelly says if Southwest doesn't get the gates, the company will still be celebrating.

"Restrictions from the Wright Amendment finally come down beginning in October. We’ll be adding 15 new destinations in October, November. And another five more in 2015," he said. 

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