|December 1, 2004|
When Delta Airlines’ announced its decision to close its hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and to fly only a few flights out of the airport, it was clear that move would have serious ramifications for the airport and North Texas. We knew more than 3,500 Delta jobs were in jeopardy and that DFW would be left with scores of gates unused.
The analysis by Drs. Weinstein and Clower measures the economic impact to the airport and to North Texas and it shows that Delta’s departure is grave. The loss of $35 million in landing fees, rental income and concession fees is 7 percent of DFW’s budget. In today’s financially stressed air travel industry, a 7 percent shortfall is virtually impossible to offset the impact quickly. The ripple effect on the area economy is just as grave. A decline in economic impact of $782 million is substantial.
Dr. Weinstein’s and Dr. Clower’s conclusion that it could be years before DFW recovers from Delta’s shutdown clearly demonstrates that we should enhance, not undermine, DFW’s position, that this is not the time to weaken or eliminate the Wright Amendment.
The state of commercial passenger aviation in North Texas is in the most precarious situation since DFW Airport opened in 1975 for reasons that are easy to understand for the following reasons: The aftermath of 9/11 and the heightened airport security around the world, rising fuel costs that are eliminating any positive effects of airline cost cutting moves and the need for DFW to maintain a competitive advantage with state-of-the art facilities.
Circumstances just don’t allow for major changes in how commercial passenger service is provided to North Texas. DFW must remain the primary commercial passenger service airport of North Texas.
I again urge Southwest Airlines to reconsider its decision not to offer service from DFW. Southwest can make North Texas commercial airline service the best in country by offering service from DFW. The flying public, DFW and Southwest would win.