The proposed settlement could end a bitter, years-long feud between Delta Airlines and Southwest Airlines over gate access at Dallas Love Field.
Delta Airlines has reached a settlement with the Dallas City Council, allowing the carrier to continue flying out of a North Texas airport for another six years.
According to The Dallas Morning News, the Council is expected to approve the tentative agreement in the coming week.
If approved, the settlement will allow Delta continued access to Dallas Love Field.
The Morning News notes that the lawsuit could conclude a long-running dispute between Delta and Southwest Airlines, both of which have claimed the right to a limited number of gates at the small airport.
The City of Dallas owns the airport, and has tried—sometimes unsuccessfully—to mediate disputes between different airlines.
Delta, says The Associated Press, refused to cede a half-gate it has shared with Southwest Airlines since 2014.
While the gate was formerly operated by United Airlines, that company leased its space to Southwest.
Interestingly, attorneys for Southwest Airlines alleged that Delta was effectively “squatting” on the gate, operating up to five flights a day between Dallas and Atlanta.
However, Southwest fully controls 17 of Dallas Love Field’s 20 operational gates.
The tentative settlement will officially recognize Delta Airlines’ rights of use to a single gate at Dallas Love Field.
“Delta Airlines will have the right to fly on one gate from Dallas Love Field,” the City Council wrote in a digital resolution.
While the exact terms of the settlement was somewhat opaque, the Dallas Morning News suggests that Delta will most likely take one of two gates owned by Seattle-based Alaska Airlines, since the published resolution notes that Dallas Love Field will pay Alaska $200,000 per year for the next six years.
The Morning News reports that Southwest Airlines had earlier indicated its desire to expand its presence at Dallas Love Field.
However, Southwest is not allowed to operate at Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, and Love Field lacks the requisite permissions to additional gates
Fearing further upsets and relocations, the Dallas City Council filed a lawsuit against all of the involved airlines, hoping to force them to the negotiating table.
While the lawsuit was filed in 2014, it was not scheduled to go to trial until 2019; the trial date was delayed, and then postponed indefinitely as a consequence of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Aside from allowing Delta a single gate, the settlement will also lease “terminal storage and support space” to Southwest Airlines for about $470,000 per year.