Amarillo, TX - Rick Husband International Airport could see some turbulence when it comes to Southwest Airlines.
On October 13, an amendment restricting where airlines like Southwest can fly to out of Dallas Love Field will expire. This could impact smaller Texas airports like Rick Husband.
The Wright Amendment was enacted in 1980 as a means to protect the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport from being out-competed by Dallas Love Field. The amendment restricts airlines leaving Love Field to fly nonstop to only nine states, including Texas. This is one of the reasons Southwest flights out of Love Field stop in cities like Amarillo before flying on to Denver or Las Vegas.
In 2006, a compromise was made to repeal the Wright Amendment in 2014. When it expires this October, Southwest will gain the ability to provide nonstop service to the other 41 states.
The airline won't release their post-Wright Amendment schedule for a couple months, leaving the future of Southwest flights to Amarillo up in the air.
"We do not anticipate drastic reductions for our current cities," said Southwest Airlines representative Whitney Eichinger. "So, for Amarillo, I could see fewer flights between Dallas Love Field and Amarillo, but there would be more opportunity for Southwest to serve other destinations from Amarillo."
Fewer flights to Amarillo could make seats fill up fast, since it is one of the cheapest carriers servicing Rick Husband. The already cheap airline could get even cheaper. Economists say once there is equal competition between airlines servicing both Love Field and DWF, prices for flights out of Dallas could drop.
Rick Husband officials said they are eagerly awaiting the release of the airline's post-Wright Amendment schedule to see how it will impact Amarillo air travel.
The City of Amarillo does not have contracts with any airlines to guarantee service to Amarillo. The last contract they had was with American Airlines over a decade ago.
Madison Alewel - NewsChannel 10