Virgin America airlines announced Friday they've reached a deal to take over the two gates at Dallas Love Field that were given up by American Airlines — and they're already selling nonstop tickets to begin flying in October after the expiration of the Wright Amendment.
Virgin was one of the companies fighting for the gates that American Airlines had to give up as part of its merger with US Airways. Southwest Airlines, which already operates out of Love Field, had also bid for the rights to those gates.
- Virgin America May Leave DFW for Love Field (March 5, 2014)
- U.S. Approves Southwest, Virgin for LaGuardia Slots (Dec. 5, 2013)
With the gates, the airline plans to offer nonstop service between Love Field (DAL) and San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), New York LaGuardia (LGA), and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The company said SFO, LAX and DCA to DAL flight service starts on Oct. 13, 2014, and LGA to DAL flight service starts on Oct. 28, 2014.
Those nonstop flights have $79 tickets for sale for a special weeklong sale. Following the sale, which begins on Friday, the company said ticket prices 30 to 50 percent lower than "competitors in the market."
— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) April 25, 2014
According to David Cush, President and CEO of Virgin America, the airline reached a deal with American Airlines for the two vacated gates, but that deal will still be up to approval by the City of Dallas.
Cush said the airline does not expect the deal will be denied, however the City of Dallas released a statement regarding gate operations at the airport on Thursday:
The City of Dallas is aware of the interest among several carriers to operate out of two of the 20 gates at Dallas Love Field. As of today, there has been no decision regarding any carriers operating at these gates.
As we approach the end of the Wright Amendment restrictions, as well as complete our $500 million Love Field Modernization Program, the City of Dallas is committed to providing the very best passenger experience and looks forward to serving both the traveling public and our airline partners. There is a briefing scheduled for Monday April 28, 2014 to the Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee to outline the operation of gates at Dallas Love Field.
Travel experts think it would be good for prices and competition at Love Field.
“Southwest is not going to get beat by price, so if Virgin America comes in with a little lower prices, we’ll see Southwest match those,” said travel agent Steve Cosgrove.
Southwest said it had no statement about the issue on Thursday.
“They’re [Virgin America] a really premier airline, they have a fantastic program so it’s great to see another airline that’s so amazing right in the middle of Dallas,” said Tim Garippa, frequent traveler from Dallas.
A Virgin America plane landed at Dallas Love Field Airport at about 7:15 p.m. Thursday, a day ahead of the planned announcement. That plane served as the backdrop for Friday morning's details.
With the airline moving to Love Field, they will end service at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Oct. 12, the airline said.
NBC 5's Jeff Smith contributed to earlier versions of this report.