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Jetblue Goes To The Hill To Oppose Wright Compromise

lowecur

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Lets see:
  • Jetblue lapdog Chuck Schumer calls for Feds to investigate SWA sweatheart deal/Fed reimbursement at ISP
  • Jetblue announces opening station @ SWA stronghold Hobby Airport
  • It's rumored that another SWA stronghold TUS will be announced at 8:30 this morning
  • Jetblue will go to Congress today to oppose "backroom Wright" deal between SWA/AA.
Neelebarger certainly has not endeared himself to ol buddy Herb lately. Have to see how this plays out. The other side of the coin is that this could play into SWA hands where the Wright would be repealed immediately. If that happens the compromise would have to include one of the following:
  • All 32 gates plus the old Legacy Terminal would be open to competition
  • or if the 20 gates restriction were kept in place, SWA would probably have to agree to reduce controlled gates from 16 to 10 or so.
:pimp:

Posted on Wed, Jun. 28, 2006
Two airlines oppose accord

By TREBOR BANSTETTER and DAVID WETHE
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITERS

Two airlines are objecting to the local compromise on the Wright Amendment, arguing that the proposed deal is unfair to competing airlines and would keep potential new service locked out of Dallas Love Field.

Executives with JetBlue Airways said Tuesday that they plan to actively fight the deal in Congress and will send letters to the Federal Aviation Administration warning that the proposed agreement is anti-competitive. Northwest officials also said they plan to share similar concerns about the compromise.

"This is an anti-competitive deal that was put together by two carriers in a backroom," said Robert Land, JetBlue's senior vice president of government affairs. "JetBlue would like to serve Dallas at Love Field, but under this, we wouldn't be able to get any gates. Nobody would."

The discount carrier, based in New York, would like to operate at Love.
Northwest apparently considered indirect service at Love through Pinnacle Airlines, a regional carrier that partners with the airline. Pinnacle came close to buying the old Legend Airlines terminal at Love, but that deal fell through after Dallas Mayor Laura Miller said she wanted to seize the property and tear it down to reduce gate space at the airport.

"The Wright Amendment compromise raises concerns in this area because of its restriction on access and because it allows some of Northwest's competitors to offer service that it would be prohibited from offering," spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said.

JetBlue's stance against the compromise came on the same day it announced new service at Houston Hobby Airport, its second Texas city. The airline, known for its low fares and in-flight amenities such as satellite television screens for every seat, began serving Austin last year.

David Barger, JetBlue's president and chief operating officer, will discuss the issue today at a roundtable hosted by the Flight Safety Foundation in Washington, D.C., Land said.

The compromise was signed June 15 by representatives of American and Southwest airlines, as well as Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief and Miller.

If approved by Congress, the deal would reduce the number of gates at Love from 32 to 20. Southwest, which is headquartered in Dallas, would keep 16 of its 21 gates; American, based in Fort Worth, would keep two of its three gates; and Houston-based Continental Airlines would keep its two gates.
The remaining gates, including six vacant spots in the old Legend Airlines terminal, would be closed permanently.

The geographic restrictions, which limit nonstop flights from Love to other Texas cities and a handful of nearby states, would remain in place for eight years. But connecting flights to any U.S. destination would be allowed immediately, as long as they stop at a city within the current Wright boundaries.

In 2004, Southwest executives launched a campaign to repeal the 1979 federal law. But the airline agreed to the compromise, saying it was the best way to ensure that the restrictions will eventually be lifted.
JetBlue originally supported Southwest's repeal drive, Land said.
"We were with Southwest 100 percent," he said. "The Wright Amendment is an outdated vestige of an era gone by."

But the compromise, particularly the reduction in gates and the distribution of remaining spaces among American and Southwest, is unfair, Land said.
"We're in a time when airport capacity is a concern nationwide, and two cities are taking it upon themselves to literally bulldoze one-third of the available gates [at Love], and divvy up what's left in a private room with two airlines," he said. "They never invited other airlines to the party, or even thought about future carriers."

Under the terms of the proposed deal, both cities would encourage new airlines to operate at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport rather than Love. And there are provisions that could give a new airline a small amount of gate space on a shared basis.

Miller, who was in Washington on Tuesday lobbying for the compromise, said that if JetBlue wants to serve Love, "We'd have to make room."
She said the Wright compromise would not affect JetBlue's ability to serve Love Field.

"This would have no impact at all," she said. "Nothing changes."
But Land said, "The only deal that works for us is a repeal."
He added that JetBlue is highly unlikely to begin service at D/FW, because of the competitive threat from American, which operates a major hub there and accounts for more than 80 percent of the airport's traffic.

"D/FW is a very hostile environment to new entrants," he said. "No carrier should be forced there when there is a viable option down the road."
Land said JetBlue isn't alone in its concerns about the Wright deal.
"There is a fair amount of dislike of this deal by other carriers," he said, although he wasn't sure how many others might join JetBlue and Northwest in publicly opposing it.

JetBlue also announced Tuesday that it will begin service in September at Hobby. Todd Burke, a JetBlue spokesman, said Hobby was the airline's airport of choice in that city because it is similar to Love Field. "We like Hobby for the same reasons we'd like to be at Love," he said. The airport is smaller, cheaper to fly from and does not host a major airline hub. Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport has a hub operated by Continental Airlines.
JetBlue will operate three flights a day between Hobby and Kennedy Airport in New York.

Land said JetBlue recently sent a letter to Love asking about the potential for any gates there. Terry Mitchell, assistant director of the city's aviation department, initially confirmed that Dallas received the inquiry and said city officials were crafting a response.

But Mitchell later said he could neither confirm nor deny receiving a letter and declined to talk about it further, citing the sensitivity of negotiations.
"The issue is that we really can't talk about it until we have an agreement" to repeal the Wright Amendment, Mitchell said. "There are a lot of issues that have to be ironed out. The city attorney would rather not say anything."
The two city councils and their attorneys are in the process of approving the final legal language of the agreement. Dallas is expected to vote on the matter today. The D/FW Airport board will vote at a special meeting Thursday. The Fort Worth council approved the general framework last week and should vote on the deal by July 11.

Star-Telegram Washington Bureau reporter Maria Recio contributed to this report.
 

Dennis Miller

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lowecur said:
"JetBlue would like to serve Dallas at Love Field....

To where? Under the WA they could only fly to HOU, MSY and AUS.
 

lowecur

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Dennis Miller said:
To where? Under the WA they could only fly to HOU, MSY and AUS.
Hello McFly:confused: , Jetblue is going to Congress to repeal WA and open more gates at DAL. ;)

:pimp:
 

canyonblue

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lowecur said:
Hello McFly:confused: , Jetblue is going to Congress to repeal WA and open more gates at DAL. ;)

:pimp:

Which will be the tougher sell? The repeal of the WA, or the current compromise crafted by local politicians. You're wrong again skippo, this deal will get through Congress faster than a payoff to Schumer.
 

ivauir

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I think JB has the high ground on this - total repeal is the way to go.
 

SWA/FO

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I think JetBlue is coming to the rescue!! They will spend some of their money and help us get what we want. That is the beauty of it.
 
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Actually what will happen ..... Joe Barton (Texas congressman) and other Wright supporters will return to their "keep the Wright amendment" position because every one will want to serve DAL (NWA, JetBlue, Fontier, Delta, US Airways, AirTran, Spirit etc.) thus overloading DAL and hurting DFW which he strongly supports. He might even propose closing DAL to all commercial traffic, forcing everyone to DAL. If he doesn't oppose it the cities of Dallas and Ft Worth will. Neighborhood groups and Ft. Worth won't tolerate it. I look for the Wright Amendment to stay....Tell me I am wrong.
 

lowecur

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michael707767

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I agree with JetBlue. If restrictions are lifted from LUV, than any airline that wants should be allowed to operate from there. I could see Delta for example operating 3 flights a day from LUV to ATL. NW maybe LUV to DTW. CAL LUV to EWR. Lots of possibilities, and they should all be allowed to pursue them.
 

SWA/FO

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Actually what will happen ..... Joe Barton (Texas congressman) and other Wright supporters will return to their "keep the Wright amendment" position because every one will want to serve DAL (NWA, JetBlue, Fontier, Delta, US Airways, AirTran, Spirit etc.) thus overloading DAL and hurting DFW which he strongly supports. He might even propose closing DAL to all commercial traffic, forcing everyone to DAL. If he doesn't oppose it the cities of Dallas and Ft Worth will. Neighborhood groups and Ft. Worth won't tolerate it. I look for the Wright Amendment to stay....Tell me I am wrong.

You are Wrong.
 

canyonblue

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michael707767 said:
I agree with JetBlue. If restrictions are lifted from LUV, than any airline that wants should be allowed to operate from there. I could see Delta for example operating 3 flights a day from LUV to ATL. NW maybe LUV to DTW. CAL LUV to EWR. Lots of possibilities, and they should all be allowed to pursue them.

No, you would only see Delta for example operating 3 flights a day from LUV to ATL, but first through Jackson. NW maybe LUV to DTW, but first through New Orleans. CAL LUV to EWR, but first through Houston. It's nice that everyone wants to jump onboard and help us get rid of the Wright Amendment, but where have you all been the past 27 years? Alright, jetBlue is only accountable for the past 7 years.
 

SWA/FO

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No, you would only see Delta for example operating 3 flights a day from LUV to ATL, but first through Jackson. NW maybe LUV to DTW, but first through New Orleans. CAL LUV to EWR, but first through Houston. It's nice that everyone wants to jump onboard and help us get rid of the Wright Amendment, but where have you all been the past 27 years? Alright, jetBlue is only accountable for the past 7 years.

Exactly!! Those 1 hour turns are going to hurt the travel time.
 

Bavarian Chef

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canyonblue said:
No, you would only see Delta for example operating 3 flights a day from LUV to ATL, but first through Jackson. NW maybe LUV to DTW, but first through New Orleans. CAL LUV to EWR, but first through Houston. It's nice that everyone wants to jump onboard and help us get rid of the Wright Amendment, but where have you all been the past 27 years? Alright, jetBlue is only accountable for the past 7 years.

As for jb, accountable for what? I would think that jb (until recently) doesn't want to compete with swa on a head-to-head basis. This may be a not-so-subtle indication that jb wants to go to more cities in texas in the near future. I don't think we would spend money on the issue if we didn't have a secret horse in this race.
 
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