In the earlier years the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) had the authority to regulate airspace and the rates of all airlines that operated in the US. However, the initial system was faced with a lot of criticism due to its restrictions on entry and price competition. In a rare and the competitions that existed in the prices. In 1960s, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pointed out that the local facilities that existed in Dallas, including Love Field were not able to handle the increasing traffic that had been occurring in the North Texas region. Hence there was the recommendation that there was the need to construct a bigger international Airport to handle the increase air transport. In the 1960s FAA made a declaration that Greater Southwest International Airport in Fort Worth and Love Field in Dallas were not fit for the expanding air traffic and the expected rise in the future air traffic demands, leading to an overhaul of federal funding. Later the Civil Aeronautics Board made statements that said airports should be merged with the major intention of making the Airports (Love Field and Greater Southwest International Airport) to be operative as a single joint regional site (Richard, 2011).
During 1979 Wright Amendment predetermined that "public convenience and necessity" really a unique limitation on the Southwest flights particularly out of Love Field. This was to be achieved through refusing planes having a larger capacity of over 56 passengers to have flight outside Texas and other states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma and particularly small market. Smaller planes were not viable especially on the longer routes; hence the Wright amendment was particularly designed to lock out Southwest airlines out of the state markets. Thus, the short-term justification of this idea was to assist DFW to make some recovery on its extensive costs.
The Wright amendment had implications to Southwest by denying it proper and effective use of its base at the home ground (Richard, 2011).The Wright amendment was also involved safety and environment Reform Act basing its claims on the fact that was justified by the legitimate environmental concern on noise, pollution and airspace safety. Initially it was taken that there was no airport that could be taken as fit to invoke the interests that could be in place to justify the prima facie violations of antitrust laws. On addition, it was deduced that it as possible to identify some ways to solve that air traffic problems without having some effects on the competitive forces.
The airports in question were in a strong need to address pollution, as well as improve on safety requirements for all flights. In 1964, there was an establishment of an interim joint board by Dallas and Fort Worth to declare a new airport site. This was followed by settling on a site that was identified to be between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. The following episodes in 1968 were breaking ground for the identified site in order to make the new airport to be viable. The cities made an agreement to make restrictions on their own airports from an earlier commercial use and all the airlines that were responsible to serve the old airports. Thus, the time was signed and an agreement was made to relocate.
According to Banstetter, (2006) Southwest Airlines refused to stop its operations in Love Field but other airlines accepted and moved their operations out of the airport. This was because; Southwest Airlines was to the idea that the move would their business hence, the Southwest Airlines made a decision to continue with services through operations from Love Field to Houston and San Antonio respectively. In the following years (1971), the move by Southwest Airlines was never accepted by Dallas and Fort Worth. This was due to the insistence by Southwest Airlines to continue being stationed and further their operations in Love Field. Hence there was a case filed against Southwest because of their insistence. However, Southwest was supported by US Supreme Court that made a ruling in favor of Southwest basing their argument that the operations of Southwest would continue as long as Love Field was still in operation as an airport. Hence Southwest would continue with their business operations. Later, after Dallas and Fort Worth were officially opened for business in 1974, Love Field was faced with drastic increase in the rates of flights hence; it decommissioned most of its concourses. In 1978, there were some Airline Deregulation Act that did away with the control that the government had over the control of fares and other air routes, this trend greatly encouraged the airlines to have a free competition and allow some new domestic carriers to operate freely and have a direct entry into the market. Coincidentally, Southwest Airlines was so much interested in the larger market and made plans to provide interstate services, particularly from Love Field. The incidence made Forth worth Congressman Jim Wright to make some contributions through the Wright Amendment. This step made severe limits to the Southwest flights that were non-stop within the states such as Texas Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico (Banstetter, 2006).
In 1990’s The Dallas and Forth Worth airports experienced annual increases in Air traffic that led to congestion. In 1996, it was suggested that making changes and repealing the Wright Amendment and reopening of Fort Worth Alliance was to ensure that passengers were treated well and that the passenger services would provide an effective Dallas and Fort Worth with additional two reliever Airports. However, the two parties, Dallas and Fort Worth declined the idea.
In 2004, the Chief Executive Officer of Southwest called the Wright Amendment as outdated and made attempts tom repeal it and this was followed in 2005 when Southwest made threats to leave Dallas. Later Southwest made announcements that it will be having indirect services that connect the Love Field and other destinations that were to be outside the Wright zone. It is expected that in 2014, the Wright amendment is expected to be out of service (Banstetter, 2006).
Southwestern, a small airline that started to operate a domestic airline service about forty years ago ran foul of Fort Worth city. This was due to refusal of the city authorities to allow an expansion of the passenger service in Dallas. As a consequence, a congressman, Jim Wright helped pass a law restricting passenger service on long flights to only 56 passengers and only destinations within Texas and the four neighboring states could be accessed from Love Field. All these placed restrictions on Southwestern airlines. Problem started when as Southwestern airlines expanded partly due to restrictions placed other big airlines from accessing Field Love. It expanded through using numerous short distance flights. Through use of multiple tickets, people could easily beat the system by flying from Dallas to any city within Texas then use another ticket to continue on his journey to any city he wanted to proceed to beyond the cities allowed by the Wright amendment. Another law sponsored by Senator Shellby allowed flights to another three states, among them, Alabama but there was no demand for these flights, with Southwestern only flights there have been recently introduced. Direct flights from Love Field to any of these destinations are yet to materialize, though there is a Southwestern flight to the largest airport in Mississippi. This state of affairs was tested by Legend airlines that remodeled jets to the required 56 passenger limit and fly direct from Love Field to other cities but it went under. Soon another amendment was proposed by Senator Bond to exempt his state from the restrictions of the Wright laws. Southwestern took this advantage and was soon offering direct flights from Field Love to cities in Missouri. It was joined by American Airline but it soon withdraw due the unavailability of its model of operations
However, Southwestern decided Wright amendment was detrimental to its business and appealed to the public through a huge advertising effort. By using all forms of media, TV, print, internet, billboards encouraging the public to support the repeal of the Wright amendment. They were soon opposed by a group supporting the amendment led by American Airlines. The proponents of the repeal feel that Wright amendment is against competition as it restricts free competition. They want the right to use any flight they prefer from Love Field without any restrictions. These restrictions have forced an artificially inflationary ticket prices. They want to encourage other inexpensive airlines like Southwest airlines to join the route in what has been christened the ‘Southwest effect’, thereby forcing ticket prices downwards as competition would dictate to the airlines. This is projected on other routes that do not have restrictions and hence a presence of budget airlines, southwest being prominent among them, has led down to low fares. The domino effect on other flights from DEW. American Airlines being the largest carrier from DFW operate steep prices as it has a monopoly of business from the airport. This monopoly is blamed for the withdrawal of Delta airlines from that particular route.
The supporters of the Wright amendment maintain that though the ticket prices of American Airlines are comparatively higher, it is small price to pay to protect the economy of the area from losing business through a shift of air traffic to other airports. They are also worried that prices may fall drastically. Investments made at the airport, such as the conveyance system transporting passengers from terminals will not be recouped if stiff competition is allowed. There is real fear that American airlines may withdraw or scale down its operations there. With a large proportion of the local populace employed by American Airlines, the population is jittery about job losses if anything happens to the airline operations.