26.5.05

Official AP Story w/Reax

This is from the newspaper in Fort Wayne, IN. They seem to be quite interested in this story as anytime news appears on Wright, they run it.

Lawmakers propose repeal of airport restriction

SUZANNE GAMBOA

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - An attempt to repeal a 25-year restriction on Southwest Airlines routes has triggered a Texas duel in the nation's capital.


Republican Reps. Sam Johnson of Plano and Jeb Hensarling of Dallas on Thursday said they would file a bill calling for immediate repeal of the Wright Amendment, which limits commercial flights from Dallas Love Field to Texas and seven nearby states. They call their bill the Right to Fly Act.


"Competition is the consumer's best friend," Hensarling said.


Johnson and Hensarling say repealing the amendment would increase competition among air carriers, leading to lower air fares.


"People have a right to choose which airport and which airline they'll use," Johnson said.


Congress imposed the Wright Amendment to protect Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the primary hub of Fort Worth-based American Airlines, against competition from Love Field in Dallas. Southwest Airlines Co. is based at Love Field. The amendment was named for former House Speaker Jim Wright, a Fort Worth Democrat.


The announcement drew criticism from several North Texas lawmakers, who planned to protest the move in a news conference Thursday afternoon.


Among the opponents of the measure is Rep. Joe Barton, chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.


Barton, R-Ennis, will "vigorously fight any effort to repeal that measure, which has established and sustained a strong air traffic infrastructure in North Texas and ensured competitively low air fare prices for passengers," said spokesman Brooks Landgraf.


Southwest has been lobbying Congress to repeal the Wright Amendment.


Ed Stewart, a spokesman for Southwest, said the proposal is a "very significant step toward the ultimate goal of giving the people of North Texas access to low fares through unfettered airline competition."


American disagreed.


"We continue to believe that North Texas communities made the correct decision to establish DFW International Airport as the aviation gateway for the region," said American spokesman Tim Wagner. "The wisdom of that decision has been borne out over the past 32 years by the unprecedented growth of the entire region."


Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, also was not happy with the proposal.


"This is a complex and long-historied issue. Many of us have dealt with this a long time. Mr. Hensarling hasn't," Granger said in a statement. "The Metroplex delegation also has a history of working together and communicating even when we differ on an issue. I'm disappointed that Mr. Hensarling would choose to act as he has."


Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, whose district includes Love Field, has not taken a position on the issue, spokeswoman Lisa Hanna said.


Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas' senior senator, also was hesitant to throw support behind the proposed repeal.


"Hutchison believes the Wright Amendment should stay in place until an economic impact study proves there will not be negative impact on the regional airport and surrounding communities," said spokesman Chris Paulitz. "She will not agree to change the amendment until it is clear that Metroplex taxpayers no longer need the amendment to be protected."


Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has said any change to the amendment must benefit Texas without disrupting contracts and other long-term commitments in place, said Don Stewart, Cornyn's spokesman.


Republican Rep. Pete Sessions, whose district includes part of Dallas, said neither immediate repeal of the amendment nor "keeping it forever" would be a correct resolution.


"For years now, business plans that affect the regional economy and employment that affects people's lives have been built on a foundation that assumes the existence of the Wright amendment," he said. Any solution must continue current economic benefits and benefit consumers.

A Lotta Damned Gall

The unmitigated audacity displayed by AA in their response to the "Freedom To Fly Act" (henceforth known as FTFA) is staggering. Even for them. Check it out...

Press Release
American Airlines


American Says Wright Repeal Would Be Double-Whammy for North Texas
Thursday May 26

(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- In response to Texas Representatives Jeb Hensarling and Sam Johnson declaring today their intention to sponsor legislation to repeal the Wright Amendment, American Airlines Executive Vice President Dan Garton said:

"This is a double-whammy for North Texas. If Southwest gets their way again, both the economy and the environment will surely suffer. First, repealing the Wright Amendment will be a setback to the region's growth. Second, the inevitable and dramatic rise in air traffic at Love Field will harm the environment in the neighborhoods around the airport. Make no mistake, the number of flights from Love Field will increase to levels never planned.

"This push by Southwest reflects the understandably selfish intentions of a company that today is roaming the halls of Congress seeking special favors. If Southwest were sincere about growing and competing, they would be flying from DFW Airport -- and they wouldn't need an act of Congress. We're confident the community will not let Southwest risk the quality of life for North Texans just to preserve and expand their monopoly at Love Field."

American Airlines® We know why you fly(SM)

Wow! Glass houses, planks in eyes, black kettles and pots. All that stuff.

We like the phrase "understandably selfish". Quite fortunate that he turned that particular phrase because that is what the opposition to FTFA is all about.

"Roaming the halls of Congress seeking special favors." As if SWA were the first company to do that. We challenge AA to prove that they are NOT doing the same thing and doing right this very second.

Monopoly? At present Continental Airlines is running flights out of two gates at Love Field. It may be close, but it is, by definition, not a monopoly.

A final thought for this post. Southwest apparently does not want to move any of its flights to DFW. And that is SWA's right. Is it not an outright display of hypocrisy for AA to demand such action when AA itself doesn't want to do likewise and move any of its flights to Love? And spare us the sancimounious bul... uh... baloney about the "quality of life" for North Texans. Quality of life in the USA includes Freedom. That includes a free marketplace where North Texans will decide how important their economic engine really is. When laws like Wright are killed, quality of life improves.

DFW, SWA Respond To Legislation

In the DFW statement... there's that phrase again. The economic engine of North Texas. That engine has a squeaky wheel and its starting to grate on the nerves.

DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
VICE PRESIDENT PUBLIC AFFAIRS: KEN CAPPS

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2005


MEDIA STATEMENT FROM JEFF FEGAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Re: Legislation to be introduced

(DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Texas) - "Obviously, we're very disappointed that two Congressmen are going to put at risk the economic engine of North Texas and the jobs of more than 250,000 men and women that are tied to this Airport, to benefit onecompany.

Southwest Airlines could have the best of both worlds and fly out ofLove Field and DFW today without an act of Congress."

###

Press Release
Southwest Airlines Applauds House Bill to Repeal Wright Amendment

Thursday May 26

(DALLAS) - Southwest Airlines (today applauds two Texas Republican congressmen who have introduced a bill to immediately repeal the Wright Amendment. U.S. Reps. Jeb Hensarling and Sam Johnson call their bill "The Right to Fly Act," which is the first to be introduced since the need for the Wright Amendment was last called into question in November 2004.

Southwest Airlines applauds the tremendous leadership and vision of these two Texas congressmen who have tapped into the true will of the people. This is a significant step toward the ultimate goal of opening the skies for greater access to low fares through unfettered airline competition. In addition, these two Texas congressman recognize the importance of cracking the 26-year deadbolt that has artificially suppressed access to the Dallas/Ft. Worth market because of high air fares.

While this is a major step forward, it is just the beginning, and our People will remain steadfast in their efforts to educate the public on the importance of stimulating the economy through greater access to low fare air travel. We are gratified by this mobilizing effort in the House and look forward to a similar effort in the Senate.

-30-

It Is Officially In The Hopper (Its ON!)

AP-TX--Wright Amendment

Lawmakers to propose repeal of airport restriction

WASHINGTON (AP) _ An attempt to repeal a 25-year restriction on Southwest Airlines routes has triggered a Texas duel in the nation's capital. Republican Congressmen Sam Johnson of Plano and Jeb Hensarling of Dallas said today they want to immediately repeal the Wright Amendment. That federal law limits commercial flights from Dallas Love Field to Texas and seven nearby states. Johnson and Henserling call their one-page bill the Right to Fly Act. Their announcement drew rapid-fire criticism from several North Texas lawmakers -- who plan to protest the move in a news conference this afternoon. Among the opponents to the Johnson-Henserling bill is fellow Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Ennis. He chairs the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Congress imposed the Wright Amendment to protect Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport from competition from the in-town Dallas airport. D-F-W is the primary hub of Fort Worth-based American Airlines. Southwest Airlines is based at Love Field.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

News Conference Details

Sam Johnson and Jeb Hensarling Advocate Wright Repeal Metroplex Lawmakers Introduce Bill to End the Restrictive Wright Amendment

Washington, May 26 - On Thursday, May 26, 2005, Dallas-area Congressmen Sam Johnson (R-TX-3) and Jeb Hensarling (R-TX-5) will introduce legislation to repeal the Wright Amendment that unfairly restricts flights at Dallas Love Field. The two Texas Republicans will hold a news conference on Capitol Hill in 2257 Rayburn House Office Building at 11:15 a.m.

The Right to Fly Act would immediately repeal the 26-year ban on flights between Love Field and most destinations outside Texas. If passed, consumers could see lower fares as a result of increased competition between air carriers.

With the exception of federally owned Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, Dallas Love Field is the only airport in the United States subject to “perimeter rules” imposed by Congress to restrict air travel.

WHO: Congressmen Sam Johnson (R-TX-3) and Jeb Hensarling (R-TX-5)
WHAT: News Conference introducing a bill to repeal the Wright Amendment
WHEN: Thursday, May 26, 2005, 11:15 a.m. EST
WHERE: 2257 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC

The Beginning Of The End.

Pardon us, but why do the rest of us in north Texas allow the great unwashed to the south to keep reelecting that pantload Joe Barton. He is as crooked as the summer is long and here is one more example that he is for sale. The only reason he even has a say in the matter is because of his seniority. Its time for Joe Barton to go back to his broken home in Ennis and be tormented by his tattered and abused conscience. Heh heh. Joe Barton with a conscience. That IS pretty rich, isn't it?

Oh, just found out one of us, from south Fort Worth, is in the Barton district. Thanks Tom Delay. We suppose Barton does have a legitimate say in the matter. Still, he's got to go. A Republican that opposes free markets is not a republican. He's a COMMUNIST.

Either way, the ball is set and a couple of Texas guys will have plenty of help from non-Texans in getting it rolling.

We should have plenty to post after today's news conferences so stay tuned.

Lawmakers Want Wright Amendment Repealed

By SUZANNE GAMBOA,
Associated Press Writer
Wed May 25

WASHINGTON - Two North Texans in Congressmen said Wednesday they think it's time to repeal a restriction that prevents Southwest Airlines from offering direct flights from Dallas' Love Field to most of the country.

Republican Reps. Sam Johnson and Jeb Hensarling said in a statement Wednesday they would propose immediate repeal of the Wright Amendment, which limits commercial flights from Love Field to Texas and seven nearby states.


Congress imposed the restriction in 1979 to protect Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the primary hub of Fort Worth-based American Airlines, against competition from Love Field in central Dallas. Southwest Airlines Co. is based at Love Field and has been lobbying Congress to repeal the Wright Amendment.

Johnson and Hensarling say repealing the amendment would increase competition among air carriers, leading to lower air fares. Johnson said he is not choosing one airline over the other.

They are facing opposition from other Texans, including Rep. Joe Barton, chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce committee. Barton will "vigorously fight any effort to repeal that measure," spokesman Brooks Landgraf said.

Ed Stewart, a spokesman for Southwest, said the proposal is a "very significant step toward the ultimate goal of giving the people of North Texas access to low fares through unfettered airline competition."

American, a unit of AMR Corp., disagreed.

"We continue to believe that North Texas communities made the correct decision to establish DFW International Airport as the aviation gateway for the region," said American spokesman Tim Wagner. "The wisdom of that decision has been borne out over the past 32 years by the unprecedented growth of the entire region."

The competing lawmakers planned separate news conferences on the issue Thursday.