Ray Villeda, NBC 5 News
The countdown is on in Dallas. On October 13, 2014, the Wright Amendment will be lifted and passengers flying out of Dallas Love Field will be able to fly non-stop to cities all over the country for the first time since 1979.
With one year left until the Wright Amendment is lifted, the countdown is on at Dallas Love Field.
The amendment, put in place in 1979, restricts nonstop travel to and from Love Field to within Texas and a handful of adjacent states. The idea, local leaders said, was to ensure that Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was profitable.
But the amendment will be repealed on Oct. 13, 2014, and the restrictions will be lifted, giving airlines the freedom to service an additional 41 states, plus the District of Columbia, from Love Field.
It will expand travel "coast to coast, border to border and lower 48 states in U.S.," said Ron Ricks, Southwest Airlines executive vice president.
"It means more competition, which is good for consumers," he said.
Longtime travel agent Steven Cosgrove agrees.
"It will spur a lot of lower fares to a number of destinations," he said. "I expect to see Southwest fly to ... Phoenix and Denver."
A spokesperson for Dallas-Fort Worth International said the airport continues to focus on international growth. Southwest doesn't fly internationally out of Love Field.
DFW also brought in 800,000 more travelers in 2013, compared to last year, on low-cost carriers alone. The airport said it is always looking to bring in more air service.
Dallas Love Field only has 20 gates -- far fewer than DFW -- but Southwest said it will still work to get a lot of passengers through those gates.
"We can blend in a mix of airplanes, some of the larger airplanes, so, without adding additional flights, you can still offer more seats for sale -- that's the key thing," said Ricks.
Cosgrove said he thinks SWA going nonstop will do little to dent DFW Airport's traffic.
"Look at Houston, look at NY with three airports, look at Los Angeles basin, the San Francisco area with Oakland and San Jose," Cosgrove said. "No, I don't really see it putting a dent in DFW."
American Airlines released a statement about the Wright Amendment, which said:
"The airline industry is extremely competitive, and the expiration of the Wright Amendment will only intensify the competition for customers across the country and in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. American Airlines has taken tremendous steps to prepare for 2014 by expanding our network with new domestic and international destinations, strengthening worldwide ties with our alliances and joint business partners, building toward a more modern fleet with hundreds of new planes and plans to refresh our existing aircraft, offering more choices for customers to tailor their entire travel experience with what they value on the ground and in the air, and partnering in a terminal renovation project that makes Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport a premier hub for our operations. We have a team of dedicated employees who are delivering an even better experience for our customers, and safety and service remain our top priorities. DFW customers will continue to see that when they choose the new American." -- Stacey Frantz, American Airlines