The Players: In Their Own Words

Sam Johnson:
"The real debate is about this -- shouldn't people have the right to choose which airport and which airline they'll use for their travel needs -- and not have the government decide that for them? Why should the federal government enforce strict standards on one airport -- and punish one airline? What right does the federal government have to do that? That's unfair and unjust. The Wright Amendment has outlived its usefulness and it needs to be repealed. That's what freedom, democracy and competition are all about,"

Jeb Hensarling:
"Airline consumers should have the freedom to fly where they want without unnecessary restrictions. It is right to repeal the Wright Amendment. It is wrong for the federal government to play favorites between airlines or airports. Repealing the Wright Amendment will help promote competition, which will provide greater choices and lower fares to passengers and generate more travel to the Metroplex."

Laura Miller:
"I think it's a very serious change in the whole story when you have Dallas congressmen filing the legislation. It's no longer we're on the defense here and out-of-state congressmen are filing bills; these are people who live in the Metroplex.

"If Congress summarily says the Wright Amendment is gone, then everybody is in trouble. You're going to have American Airlines rushing into Love Field and you're going to have a giant draining sound coming from DFW. I mean the whole thing is unsettling.

"And that's why we, Love Field, the DFW Airport folks, Fort Worth ... if we can all sit down and say 'Okay, let's take control of this situation,' I think we can come up with a win-win. There's a lot of scenarios.

"I think that Rep. Johnson and Rep. Henserling would be happy to see some movement. I mean, one of the reasons they're filing this is because they don't see any movement. You've got two entrenched camps; nobody is willing to talk about a compromise, so they're saying, 'Okay, the game's over. We're going to get involved now.'

"I think D/FW Airport and American Airlines need to see it as a real threat to the status quo and if everyone is smart, they'd sit down at the table and try to figure this one out.

"I would like to see competition between Southwest Airlines and American Airlines because we have been waiting for months to fill those Delta gates at DFW and it's not happening. The only way to get air fares down is to have these two great airlines, that we're lucky to have, compete against each other directly and the only way to do that is if neither airline has restrictions.

"So, while as a board member for DFW I've been publicly against repealing the Wright Amendment, at this point my thought is American Airlines and DFW better see what's happening in Washington and react. And I'd like it if we could all come up with a scenario by which it gets repealed over a set period of time and we have some kind of understanding about who flies out of which airport. Maybe they both fly out of both airports. But we need to get control of our destiny and not have Congress do it for us.

"But so far the two sides have been very entrenched and they don't to find that solution. I'm hoping that by this happening, which is out of everyone's control down here, that everyone says maybe we need to sit down and come up with a solution that we have control of down here.
"It would be nice if we could lower the number of gates at Love Field, divert half the traffic, which is private jets, to Dallas Executive (former Red Bird Airport) by offering incentives, and hopefully people will voluntarily go.

"I've been saying consistently that I have given up hope that we can get a low-cost carrier to go to D/FW Airport and challenge American. I mean, I held onto that hope until about 30 days ago and now it's gone. So I have said since then, that I want them to go head-to-head. When I mentioned it to D/FW Airport, there was this reluctance to even talk about a plan B. Well, maybe this is what's going to get us to start talking about plan B."

Kevin Cox (DFW):
"Southwest Airlines is a great airline, and we have always been sincere with our offer to assist in any way we can to do what is best for the North Texas traveler and the North Texas economy. We are willing to sit down at the negotiating table tomorrow with Southwest and work out a deal that would be good for everyone and bring additional competition to the airport that was built to handle it. We want to do whatever it takes to make sure Southwest is successful."

Ken Capps (DFW):
"We respect all members of the North Texas delegation, and appreciate the support of the majority of them. This is not about low fares, as Southwest likes to say. Low fares to the cities that Southwest would fly to are already in place and D/FW, and thousands of passengers are enjoying those fares this weekend. It is not about the Southwest business model, they have told us eyeball to eyeball there are no operational constraints to flying out of DFW and most importantly, they told us they know they can make money here. Southwest could have the best of both worlds, fly out of Love Field and D/FW, be the hometown hero, unite North Texas and make money. So far, they have chosen not to do that. It seems like a simple choice. We know it is an emotional issue, and one that has a lot of mis-stated facts. It's sometimes tough to understand. This is about competition on an equal playing field for everyone. Southwest Airlines has a 97% monopoly at Love Field. And they are freezing out more low fare competition out of North Texas with the uncertainty of the Wright Amendment. That is bad for North Texas travelers. We are confident the debate in Washington will show the true facts - and the damage this would cause to the North Texas economy, the North Texas traveler and travelers across Texas. And yes, Southwest Airlines has the right to the fly and the freedom to fly anywhere out of North Texas right now without an act of Congress - they simply choose not to do so. At D/FW, we serve all the people of this region. This is the Airport Dallas and Fort Worth built together, and the Airport that was built for growth, built for the good of all. You can rest assured D/FW will be active with all of its community and business supporters in the weeks ahead to continue to communicate real facts and the real impact to North Texas."

Herb Kelleher:
"Southwest Airlines has been a bonanza in markets where we are allowed to offer unbridled, unconstrained, unshackled, low-fare service; not only by increasing traffic, but by creating a boon to local economic development.

"Any time competition is fettered, it is a penalty to consumers. The size of Southwest Airlines' task force may pale in comparison to our competitors.

"All we have is truth, right and justice on our side -- which makes us very successful. Those who are working to abolish the amendment are standing for the American people, for consumerism, and for free enterprise.

"There are crazy, weird, bizarre restrictions about what passengers can and can't do at Love Field; getting rid of the restrictions would be a considerable boon to the United States and our customers. We are asking Congress to eliminate limitations that should have never been imposed in the first place; we are asking for the freedom to compete."


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