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Virgin America Plans New Hub at Dallas Love Field

Virgin America Plans New Hub at Dallas Love Field

In a surprise announcement, Virgin America today made a very public bid for the two gates at Dallas Love Field that American must divest as part of the agreement with the Department of Justice allowing its merger with US Airways.

To date, the only other contender for the Love Field gates was Delta, which has been leasing the gates from American. So confident was Delta in its prospects for purchasing the gates outright that it had already begun selling seats for future flights from Love Field to New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Detroit.

Virgin America’s expression of interest in the gates throws Delta’s plans into doubt, and could knock it out of the running altogether.

Virgin America’s own plan is to make Love Field a kind of mini-hub, with new flights to LaGuardia, Washington National, and Chicago O’Hare. The airline would also relocate its current Los Angeles and San Francisco flights from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Love Field.

The DOJ settlement that is forcing American to divest its Love Field gates, as well as gates at La Guardia and Washington National airports, specifically mentions low-cost carriers as the preferred candidates to take over the vacated gates. So between Delta and Virgin America, Virgin America’s LCC status would seem to give it the edge.

On the other hand, 80 percent of Love Field’s gates are already in the hands of America’s premier low-cost carrier, Southwest. So Delta will no doubt argue that the addition of another low-cost airline would be redundant.

Both carriers are behaving publicly as though their success is a foregone conclusion. In the end, though, the only certainty is that the Department of Justice will have the final say.

Stay tuned.

Reader Reality Check

Delta or Virgin America, which airline would be the best addition to Love Field?

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  • DrSamHerman

    Now this would really change the dynamics in the Dallas airline market. What a study in contrasts–VA and Southwest. Like comparing Singapore Air to Ryanair in some respects.

  • tolbuck

    “IF” the DOJ had ANY Sense (and that Is An Issue in it’s own right) then there should be No Contest in awarding Virgin the Gates at Love Field. Personally, I am soooooooooo sick and tired of Delta,Delta this, delta that….they really are annoying at This Point in Time. Delta HAD a Hub in Dallas years ago and chose to pack up and Close It Down…no need to Come Back. Dallas doesn’t need Delta.

  • keller23

    DOJ will make final decision….in other words, the winner will be the company whose CEO donated the most money to the Obama campaign.

  • adam

    I’d actually prefer Delta, I think, if it meant those of us near podunk non-Southwest airports could fly into DAL.

  • MadLibertarian

    As much as I love Delta, I am also a huge fan of Virgin America. In this case, I am going to say I hope Virgin America gets the gates.

  • TomF

    Two gates don’t add up to a “hub.”

  • Lordkent

    Sorry at over $400 tomorrow for a One Way Dallas to SFO ib Coach, I dont regard Virgin America a Low Cost Airline. Its fares are virtually identical on most routes to legacy carriers.

  • Nolan Snoeyink

    Virgin America is probably one of the best airlines. They need more flights out of Chicago!