NEW YORK – Southwest Airlines has agreed to make room for rival Delta Air Lines in its gates at Dallas’ Love Field airport while the carriers await a long-term resolution of their dispute in court, the airlines said Wednesday.
Southwest will allow Delta to continue operating five daily flights between Love Field and Atlanta, according to a Delta spokeswoman. The agreement averts potential havoc for customers, with a gate-sharing arrangement between the carriers set to expire on July 6.
The two airlines had scheduled overlapping flights from identical gates at the space-constrained airport. The conflict has drawn in city and federal officials, with the city of Dallas suing the carriers last week in part for placing it in a bind.
U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade in Dallas strongly encouraged Southwest to make room for its competitor temporarily, according to a source familiar with the matter. The airlines confirmed to the court Wednesday morning that Delta could remain at Love Field at least through Labor Day, the source said.
The court on Wednesday canceled a hearing on the issue that was set for June 29, according to an electronic court order. It pushed back deadlines to respond to competing motions by Southwest and Delta to July 17.
Delta has sold almost 20,000 tickets to Love Field through May 2016 and said a mass cancellation would “cause significant harm to Delta’s operations,” according to a court filing.
Southwest holds 18 of 20 gates at Love Field, its headquarters. It has planned to increase flights from Love Field in August.
The airline plans to proceed with the ramp-up despite Delta’s accommodation by working closely with Delta to ensure efficient gate usage, according to the source, who requested anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.