Dallas city attorneys filed a motion last week that lays out a plan that would allow Delta, which doesn’t have the same lease rights as Southwest and the airport’s other tenant, Alaska Airlines, to operate at Love Field for at least three more years, with no guarantee it could stay beyond that time.
The new proposal doesn’t have sign off from the airlines yet, but it’s a concrete step forward for the city, whose lack of a clear accommodation policy had been blamed for contributing to the current legal mess.
Southwest paid to sublease the disputed gate from United Airlines in 2014 and has sought to evict Delta, comparing the Atlanta-based airline to an unwanted squatter. Southwest controls 18 of 20 gates at Love Field, operating about 180 daily flights.
Delta has been at Love Field since 2009 and has argued it should be allowed to continue operating because Southwest wasn’t fully utilizing the disputed gates when Delta made a request for accommodation. Delta has also argued the city has an obligation to provide a process for accommodating airlines wanting to serve the airport, even if they don’t have a preferential lease for gate space.