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Airport Dallas (USA) - Love Field

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Dallas Love Field
2013 aerial photo
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Dallas
OperatorDallas Department of Aviation
ServesDallasFort WorthArlington
LocationDallas, Texas, USA
Focus city forSouthwest Airlines
Elevation AMSL487 ft / 148 m
Coordinates32°5050N 096°5106W / 32.84722°N 96.85167°W / 32.84722; -96.85167Coordinates: 32°5050N 096°5106W / 32.84722°N 96.85167°W / 32.84722; -96.85167

FAA airport diagram
Dallas Love Field
Direction Length Surface
ft m
13L/31R 7,752 2,363 Concrete
13R/31L 8,800 2,682 Concrete
Statistics (2018)
Aircraft operations231,110

Dallas Love Field (IATA: DAL, ICAO: KDAL, FAA LID: DAL) is a city-owned public airport 6 miles (10 km) northwest of downtown Dallas, Texas.[1] It was Dallas' main airport until 1974 when Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) opened.

Southwest Airlines maintains their corporate headquarters and an operating base at Love Field. Several full-service fixed-base operators (FBOs) provide general aviation services: fuel, maintenance, hangar rentals, and air charters.


Dallas Love Field is named after Moss L. Love,[3] who while assigned to the U.S. Army 11th Cavalry, died in an airplane crash near San Diego, California, on September 4, 1913, becoming the 10th fatality in U.S. Army aviation history. His Wright Model C biplane crashed during practice for his Military Aviator Test.[4] Love Field was named by the United States Army on October 19, 1917.

World War I

Dallas Love Field has its origins in 1917 when the Army announced it would establish a series of camps to train prospective pilots after the United States entered into World War I. The airfield was one of thirty-two new Air Service fields.[5] It was constructed just southeast of Bachman Lake, and it covered over 700 acres and could accommodate up to 1,000 personnel. Dozens of wooden buildings served as headquarters, maintenance, and officers quarters. Enlisted men had to bivouac in tents.[6]

Love Field served as a base for flight training for the United States Army Air Service. In 1917, flight training occurred in two phases: primary and advanced. Primary training took eight weeks and consisted of pilots learning basic flight skills under dual and solo instruction. After completion of their primary training at Love Field, flight cadets were transferred to another base for advanced training.[6]

After officially opening on October 19, 1917, the first unit stationed at Love Field was the 136th Aero Squadron, which was transferred from Kelly Field, south of San Antonio, Texas. Only a few U.S. Army Air Service aircraft arrived with the 136th Aero Squadron, and most of the Curtiss JN-4 Jennys to be used for flight training were shipped in wooden crates by railcar.[6] Training units assigned to Love Field during World War I were:[7]

  • Post Headquarters, Love Field, October 1917 December 1919
  • 71st Aero Squadron (II), February 1918
Re-designated as Squadron "A", JulyNovember 1918
  • 121st Aero Squadron (II), April 1918
Re-designated as Squadron "B", JulyNovember 1918
  • 136th Aero Squadron (II), November 1917
Re-designated as Squadron "C", JulyNovember 1918
  • 197th Aero Squadron, November 1917
Re-designated as Squadron "D", JulyNovember 1918
  • Flying School Detachment (Consolidation of Squadrons A-D), November 1918 November 1919

The 865th Aero Squadron (Repair), was formed at Love Field in March 1918 as a support unit for JN-4 aircraft repair and maintenance. It was assigned to the Aviation Repair Depot, Dallas Texas (at Love Field) in April 1918. It was demobilized in March 1919.

With the sudden end of World War I in November 1918, the future operational status of Love Field was unknown. Many local officials speculated the U.S. government would keep the field open because of the outstanding combat record established by Love-trained pilots in Europe. Locals also pointed to the optimal weather conditions in the Dallas area for flight training. Cadets in flight training on November 11, 1918, were allowed to complete their training; however, no new cadets were assigned to the base. Also the separate training squadrons were consolidated into a single Flying School detachment, as many of the personnel assigned were being demobilized.[6]

Inter-war years

With the end of World War I, in December 1919 Love Field was deactivated as an active duty airfield and converted into a storage facility for surplus De Havilland and JN-4 aircraft, some of the latter having been brought bought back by the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company in the spring of 1919.[8]:12 In what was called "the largest recruiting mission in the spring and summer of 1919", Lt. Col. Henry B. Clagett began with seven DH-4s departing Dallas and flying as far as Boston.[8]:8 A small caretaker unit was assigned to the facility for administrative reasons and it was used intermittently to support small military units.

In January 1921, 1st Lt William D. Coney attempted to fly from San Diego to Jacksonville with just one stopat Love Field.[8]:177 In 1921, the aviation repair depot next to Love Field moved to Kelly Field in San Antonio to consolidate with the supply depot at Kelly and form the San Antonio Intermediate Air Depot. In 1923, Dallas was a route point between Muskogee and Kelly Field on the southern division of the model airway.[8]:152 However, by 1923, the decision had been made to phase down all activities at the new base in accordance with sharply reduced military budgets and it was closed. The War Department had ordered the small caretaker force at Love Field to dismantle all remaining structures and to sell them as surplus. The War Department leased out the vacant land to local farmers and ranchers.

In 1927, Dallas purchased Love Field, which opened for civilian use (1st passenger service was by the National Air Transport company.)[9] On April 9, 1932, the first paved runways at the airfield were completed,[10] and in March 1939 the airfield had 21 weekday airline departures: 9 American, 8 Braniff and 4 Delta.[11] "On 6 June 1939, the War Department approved...nine civil school detachments", including one at Dallas[12]:18 (cf. a 1940 school approved for Ft Worth's Hicks Field,[12]:26 a new 1942 Ft Worth airfieldTarrant Field at the government plant and that had a 4 engine pilots' school,[12]:69) and a Ferrying Command control center at Dallas' Hensley Field.[12]:144)

World War II training and ferrying

By October 1940 at the Texas Army Airfields,[12]:29 classes had entered the Dallas Texas Aviation School, which provided basic (level 1) flight training using Fairchild PT-19s as the primary trainer (several PT-17 Stearmans and a few P-40 Warhawks were also assigned.[citation needed]) The Gulf Coast ACTC school later moved to Brady, Texas;[12]:32 and Love Field also had an Air Materiel Command modification center.[12]:141 In September 1942, the Air Transport Command activity at Hensley Field moved to Love Field.[12]:146 ATC's 5th Ferrying Group, consisting of Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadrons (WAFS) ferried PT-17s, AT-6s and twin-engine Cessna AT-17s; and Love Field was also used by the San Antonio Air Service Command for aircraft overhauls. The 2d Ferrying Squadron of the 5th Ferrying Group was moved by Air Transport Command from Love Field to Fairfax Field at Kansas City on April 15, 1943.[13]

In September 1943 a new north-south runway 18/36 and northwest-southeast runway 13/31 were completed. Air Force facilities closed at the end of World War II[14][15] except for Love Field's automatic tracking radar station (call sign Dallas Bomb Plot) for Radar Bomb Scoring that had been established by June 6, 1945[16] (transferred to Strategic Air Command on March 21, 1946, 10th RBSS Det 1 by 1957.)[17]

1940 to 1957

On October 6, 1940, Love Field's Lemmon Avenue Terminal Building opened on the east side of the airfield.

On November 29, 1949, American Airlines Flight 157, a Douglas DC-6 en route from New York City to Dallas and Mexico City with 46 passengers and crew, slid off Runway 36 after the flight crew lost control on final approach. The airliner struck buildings[N 1] and caught fire, killing 28. This was the deadliest air disaster in Texas history at the time[18] and, according to modern reference sources,[19] remains the deadliest crash at the airfield.

Pioneer Airlines moved its base from Houston to Love Field in 1950.[10]

In 1953, Fort Worth opened Amon Carter Field, which would later become Greater Southwest International Airport, to compete with Love Field. Fort Worth had attempted to negotiate with Dallas to collaborate on the new airport, but Dallas repeatedly declined those attempts. Upon completion, all of the passenger airlines were transferred from Fort Worth's previous airline airport, Meacham Field, to Greater Southwest, leaving Love Field and Greater Southwest as the only air transportation options for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The February 1953 C&GS diagram shows runway 7 (4301 ft), runway 13 (6201 ft) and runway 18 (5202 ft). On June 1, 1954 Runway 7/25 was closed;[10] it was later removed to allow terminal expansion. Love Field then had two runways: Runway 13/31, the main runway, and the shorter 18/36.

The April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 52 weekday departures on Braniff, 45 on American, 25 Delta, 21 Trans-Texas, 12 Central and 9 Continental.[20] Three nonstops a day to Washington DC, three to New York/Newark, six to Chicago, five to California and 12 a week to Mexico City.

1957 to 1974

Love Field's new terminal (the third terminal, designed by Donald S. Nelson[21]) opened to the airlines on January 20, 1958,[10] with three one-story concourses, 26 ramp-level gates and the world's first airport moving walkways.[22] Airlines serving the airport at the time included American, Braniff, Central (which was based in Fort Worth), Continental, Delta, Pan Am and Trans Texas (later Texas International).

Turbine-power flights began on April 1, 1959, when Continental Airlines introduced the Vickers Viscount turboprop. Jet airline flights began on July 12, 1959, when American Airlines started Boeing 707 flights to New York.

In 1961, Mr. and Mrs. Earle Wyatt gave a large bronze statue bearing the inscription "One Riot, One Ranger" for display in the airport's new terminal. Famed Texas-born sculptress Waldine Tauch created the piece. The inscription refers to an incident in which a single Texas Ranger was dispatched to quell a riot.[10] Because of terminal renovation from 2010 to 2013, the statue was moved temporarily for display to the nearby Frontiers of Flight Museum, but the statue has now been returned to a prominent location in the lobby of terminal one (August 2013).

On November 22, 1963, United States President John F. Kennedy arrived at Love Field on Air Force One, and was assassinated in Dealey Plaza less than one hour later while his motorcade was traveling from Love Field to the Dallas Trade Mart and died at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Texas Governor John Connally was riding in the presidential limousine and was seriously wounded. Ninety minutes later, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president aboard Air Force One before its departure from Love Field to Washington D.C.

On April 2, 1965, the 8,800 ft (2,682 m) parallel Runway 13R/31L opened (Runway 13/31 became Runway 13L/31R).[23] The project had been vexed by legal wrangling; safety concerns were raised regarding its proximity to schools[24] and its minimal safety areas,[25] while nearby residents attempted to stop the anticipated increase in jet noise and the removal of homes and businesses adjacent to the airport to accommodate the project.[26][27]

Several terminal expansion programs were fueled by the boom in air travel during the 1960s. American Airlines expanded their concourse in 1968 and Braniff opened its "Terminal of the Future." The expansion, showcasing Alexander Girard, Herman Miller and Ray and Charles Eames designs, featured the first rotunda concourse, jet bridges and several airport innovations. Braniff connected their new terminal to new remote parking lots with the Jetrail monorail system in 1970.[28] Texas International expanded their concourse in 1969, and Delta's concourse was expanded in 1970.[10] By 1972, American used 14 gates on the west end of the terminal, Delta used 13 gates, Braniff and Ozark together used 13 gates on the east end of the terminal, and Texas International used seven gates.[29]

In 1964, the FAA, tired of funding competing commercial airports in Dallas and Fort Worth, gave the two cities a six-month period to plan a new regional airport. Ultimately, they agreed to build Dallas/Fort Worth Regional Airport (now Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport), and to restrict air-carrier operations at their respective municipal airports to promote the new facility.

Southwest Airlines, founded in 1971 and headquartered at Love Field, built its business on selling quick, no-frills trips between Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. The company felt that the notion of a quick trip would be destroyed by a long drive to the new airport. Prior to the opening of DFW, Southwest Airlines sued for the right to remain at Love Field. In 1973 the courts ruled that the City of Dallas could not restrict Southwest Airlines from operating out of Love Field, so long as it remained open as an airport. This ruling effectively granted Southwest the right to continue to operate its existing intrastate service out of Love Field. The airlines operating from Love Field at the time DFW was conceived executed agreements with DFW stipulating that no airline could operate at the new airport if it continued to operate any flights out of Love Field. Southwest, created after the other carriers had signed on to the DFW operating agreements, was not a signatory and remained as the only airline operating at Love Field.[10]

In 1972, Love Field saw an aircraft hijacking. On January 12, Billy Gene Hurst, Jr., a resident of Houston, hijacked Braniff Flight 38, a Boeing 727 airliner, as it departed William P. Hobby Airport in Houston bound for Dallas. After the plane landed at Love Field, Hurst allowed all 94 passengers to deplane, but continued to hold the 7 crewmembers hostage. Hurst insisted on flying to South America and made a variety of other demands, including food, cigarettes, parachutes, jungle survival gear, US$2 million, and a handgun. After a 6-hour standoff, police gave Hurst a package containing parachutes and some other items, and the hostages escaped while he was distracted examining the package's contents. Police stormed the craft soon afterwards and arrested him without serious incident. He was later sentenced to 20 years in prison.[30][31][32][33]

1973 saw Love Field, which had more than 70 gates and saw frequent Boeing 747 service, reach record enplanements at 6,668,398 as the eighth busiest airport in the United States. On January 13, 1974, DFW Airport opened, ending most passenger service at Love Field.[10][34] Greater Southwest International Airport, which lay in the flight path to DFW, was permanently closed and subsequently demolished.

1974 to 1999

With the drastic reduction in flights and only 467,212 enplanements in 1975,[10] Love Field decommissioned several of its concourses. The city of Dallas attempted to make use of these dormant facilities by leasing some of them to an entrepreneur who opened the "Love Entertainment Complex" in November 1975. The main lobby at the front of a former terminal was transformed into movie theaters, ice rink, roller rink, huge video arcades, restaurants and bowling alley. Love seemed especially suited for the pre-teen and teen crowd, who could spend the day for a single admission charge of about $3.50. Love closed in May 1978.[citation needed] Several of the concourses were remodeled into support and training buildings for Southwest Airlines.

After deregulation of the U.S. airline industry in 1978, Southwest Airlines announced plans to start interstate service in 1979, a proposal that was quickly endorsed by federal regulators. This upset local officials, who feared that increased commercial traffic at Love Field could threaten DFW Airport's financial stability. Under the pretext of protecting DFW Airport, Fort Worth-based U.S. Representative (later Speaker of the House) Jim Wright pushed a law through Congress restricting air service at Love Field in the following ways: Passenger service on regular mid-sized and large aircraft could only be provided from Love Field to locations within Texas and four neighboring states (Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico). Airlines could not offer connecting flights, through service on another airline, or through ticketing beyond the five-state region. Long-haul service to other states was only allowed using aircraft with 56 or fewer passenger seats.[35]

While the Wright Amendment dissuaded other major airlines from starting service out of Love Field, it did not deter Southwest. Freed from direct competition from other carriers, Southwest flourished by offering convenient short-haul flights, and continued to build its Love Field operation. In 1985, an ultimately stillborn proposal by Continental Airlines to restart Love Field service resulted in a ruling from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) decreeing that the Wright Amendment only prohibited airlines from through-ticketing specific flight segments to or from Love Field, and that selling a passenger a separate ticket on a connecting flight at another airporta practice known as double ticketingwas perfectly legal provided that the connecting ticket was requested by the traveler rather than being solicited by the airline. This greatly benefited Southwest because it allowed a sophisticated passenger to work the system and bypass the Wright Amendment's restrictions by flying from Love Field to another airport in the five-state region, changing planes, and then flying on a separate ticket to any city Southwest served.[35]

Due to the success of Southwest Airlines, other airlines considered using Love Field for short-haul trips. Southwest co-founder Lamar Muse started Muse Air, a short-haul competitor using DC-9s and MD-80s between Love Field and Houston in 1982. Muse Air was unable to operate profitably against Southwest at Love Field, and was purchased by Southwest in 1985 and renamed TranStar Airlines. Southwest ceased TranStar operations in 1987. Continental Airlines expressed its intent to fly out of Love Field in 1985, which led to years of court battles over the interpretation of the Wright Amendment as Fort Worth and DFW International Airport continued to try to prevent expansion at Love Field.

The Wright Amendment became controversial in Dallas; some argued that it unfairly restricted airline competition, while others supported it to mitigate jet noise and protect property values near the airport. In late 1989, Kansas U.S. House Rep. Dan Glickman sponsored a bill calling for the amendment's repeal, and in September of that year, the Dallas City Council approved a resolution calling for the amendment's four-state limit to be changed to a 650 mi (1,050 km) perimeter limit allowing direct flights to Denver and Nashville.[36] By 1990, Southwest was supportive of the resolution, but it galvanized opposition by local property owners, and many people were alarmed when American Airlines declared that it could cancel a proposed terminal project at DFW and move many flights to Love.[37] In early July, Texas members of the U.S. House Rules Committee blocked Glickman's bill, Dallas mayor Annette Strauss withdrew her support, and the City Council rescinded their 1989 vote.[38][39]

A faction led by Dallas city councilman Jerry Bartos continued to lobby for a repeal of the Wright Amendment restrictions, culminating in a renewed repeal effort in 1992, but it soon became mired in lawsuits and was halted by Dallas mayor Steve Bartlett following negotiations with the city of Ft. Worth. However, in 1996, Love Field-based aviation company Dalfort Aviation announced the launch of Legend Airlines, a new air carrier that would operate long-haul flights under the 56-passenger exemption. Legend CEO and former FAA administrator T. Allan McArtor said that the airline would use older, larger jets modified in an all-business class configuration, claiming that new 56-seat regional jets were too expensive and would not provide Dalfort with much-needed overhaul business. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) general counsel ruled in September 1996 that the 56-seat restriction applied to the "designed capacity" of an airliner rather than to the number of seats actually installed, prompting Legend to seek a change in the law; Texas Rep. Joe Barton was soon calling for the U.S. House to address of the 56-seat requirement.[40][41]

By July 1997, McArtor had enlisted the help of Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, who proposed to change the Wright restrictions to allow Legend to start service using the refurbished planes.[42] In 1997, the Shelby Amendment was passed by Congress, amending the Wright Amendment. The Shelby Amendment, a compromise of sorts, allowed Love Field flights to three more states: Kansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. It amended the definition of 56-passenger jets that could fly to other states to include any aircraft weighing less than 300,000 pounds with 56 or fewer seats.

The Shelby Amendment caused several other airlines to consider flying 56-passenger jets out of Love Field, including Continental and Delta. Fort Worth immediately sued Dallas to prevent the Shelby Amendment from going into effect. American Airlines, headquartered at DFW, joined the lawsuits against Dallas, but also said if other airlines were allowed to fly out of Love Field, it would have no choice but to offer competing service. In 1998, after a year of legal decisions and appeals, Continental Express became only the third airline to fly out of Love Field since 1974 with service to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston; however, federal courts blocked the airline's proposed interstate service.[43]

Despite the Shelby Amendment, Southwest did not add flights to the new states, citing a lack of demand.[44]

2000 to 2013

On February 10, 2000, a federal judge lifted the injunction against Continental Express' proposed interstate service to Cleveland, and the airline announced that flights would begin on June 1.[45] After further legal battles and delays in gaining final approval from the FAA, Legend began the first long-haul service from Love Field since 1974 with a flight to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) on April 5, 2000 using a refurbished 56-seat McDonnell Douglas DC-9.[46] Legend soon operated scheduled passenger service nonstop from Love Field to Los Angeles (LAX), New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Las Vegas (LAS), and Dulles.[47] In addition to continuing their legal efforts, American Airlines launched a direct challenge to Legend with its first flights from Love Field since 1974, starting service on 1 May with refitted 56-seat Fokker 100s and offering direct flights to Chicago and Los Angeles.[48]

In 2000, several federal appeals court decisions finally struck down all lawsuits against the Shelby Amendment. Fort Worth and American Airlines appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to review the case. These decisions opened the door to increased long-haul flights out of Love Field using 56-passenger jets, including new service by Delta, whose regional affiliate Atlantic Southeast Airlines began flights to Delta's Atlanta hub in July. The majority of this 56-passenger jet market was composed of business travelers making day trips to other cities. However, the exclusively 56-seat carrier Legend was unable to operate profitably, and it suspended flight operations indefinitely in early December.

In 2001, the September 11 attacks and the subsequent recession greatly reduced the demand for air travel in the U.S., especially within the business traveler market. American quickly ceased long-haul 56-passenger flights and pulled out of Love Field. By 2003, Southwest and Continental Express were the only two major commercial airlines operating out of Love Field. However, due to Southwest's success and the possibility of other airlines returning, the airport expanded its parking facilities and redeveloped one of its terminals.

New parking facilities in a 2,400-space garage opened in 2002 and 2003, connected to the terminal with a climate controlled walkway. The East Concourse, formerly Braniff's "Terminal of the Future," was demolished as part of the Love Field Modernization Program.[10]

In 2002, Love Field was designated as a Texas State Historical Site in 2003.

The Frontiers of Flight Museum, which had been inside the airport terminal since 1988, moved to the north side of the airport in a separate facility.

In November 2004, Southwest announced their active opposition to the Wright Amendment, claiming that the law is anti-competitive and outdated it placed banners throughout the airport grounds stating the phrase, "Wright is wrong". In November 2005, Senator Kit Bond of Missouri attached an amendment to a transportation spending bill to exempt his state from the Wright restrictions. Soon after the bill's passage, Southwest began nonstop flights from Love Field to St. Louis and Kansas City on December 13, 2005.[44] The same day, American Airlines announced that it would start service from Love Field to the same Missouri airports on March 2, 2006, along with flights to the Southwest strongholds of San Antonio and Austin.[49]

On June 15, 2006, it was announced that American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth had all agreed to seek full repeal of the Wright Amendment, with several conditions. Among them: the ban on nonstop flights outside the Wright zone would remain until 2014; through-ticketing to domestic airports (connecting flights to long-haul destinations) would be allowed immediately; Love Field's maximum gate capacity would be reduced from 32 to 20 gates; and Love Field would handle only domestic flights non-stop. Southwest would be able to operate from 16 gates, American 2 gates, and Continental 2 gates. JetBlue and Northwest Airlines claimed that the gate cap would effectively ban any airlines not named in the compromise to ever operate from Love Field, even though the agreement called for Southwest, American and Continental to share gates with new airlines that desired to serve the airport. The cap of 20 gates would effectively restrict the purpose of the 2014 lifting of the ban on nonstop flights outside the Wright zone.

After extensive negotiations with the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the compromise bill passed both Houses of Congress on Friday, September 29, just before the 109th Congress adjourned for the November elections. U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison led the effort to pass the bill in the Senate while Rep. Kay Granger led a bipartisan Texas House coalition to see the bill through to a successful conclusion in the House. President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on October 13, 2006.[50] Southwest and American Airlines then required approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin one-stop flights from Love Field to destinations outside the Wright limits.[51]

On October 17, 2006, Southwest Airlines announced it would begin one-stop or connecting service between Love Field and 25 destinations outside the Wright zone on October 19, 2006.[52] American Airlines made travel between Love Field and locations outside the Wright zone available by October 18, 2006.[53][54]

In early 2009, a plan to modernize Love Field was announced. The $519 million master plan will replace the terminals with a new 20-gate concourse and expanded baggage facilities.[34] The project also called for a $250 million people mover system to connect to Dallas Area Rapid Transit's Burbank Station,[55] but this was eliminated in favor of a cheaper bus connection to the Inwood Station.[56]

In June 2009, American Airlines pulled out of Love Field again with the cancellation of the American Eagle service to Chicago, but said that they would return in 2013 or 2014 after completion of the airport modernization project.[57]

2014 to present

Southwest Airlines added Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, WashingtonNational and Chicago on October 13, 2014, the day the repeal went into effect. The first flight to operate outside of the Wright Amendment restricted area was Southwest Airlines flight 1013 to Denver (the flight number of which was named after the date). On November 2, 2014, Southwest added new service to Atlanta, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New YorkLaGuardia, Phoenix, San Diego, Orange County (California) and Tampa.[58]

To get its merger with US Airways approved by the Department of Justice (DOJ), American Airlines was forced to give up its 2 gates at Love Field. Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and Virgin America all expressed interest, while the DOJ indicated a low cost carrier should receive the gates.[59] The former American Airlines gates were granted to Virgin America on October 13, 2014, thus denying the gates to Delta and Southwest.[60][61]

Until 2014, Delta served Love Field by subleasing use of American's gates. After being notified it would have to cease service at Love, Delta threatened to sue the city of Dallas. Southwest agreed to a temporary resolution by agreeing to sublease gate space to Delta until January 2015. When this agreement expired, United Airlines agreed to allow Delta to use one of its gates until July 2015.[62] United had previously agreed to transfer its gate rights to Southwest. The city of Dallas brought a lawsuit in federal court in June 2015 to resolve Delta's claims. In January 2016, Delta won a preliminary injunction to continue service at Love Field using Southwest gate rights, based on federal aviation law and DOT competition policies. As of June 2016, the injunction is being appealed at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.[63]

Following the closure of Terminal 1, SeaPort Airlines began sharing a Virgin America gate for its twice-daily Essential Air Service flights to El Dorado (Arkansas).[64] Seaport Airlines ceased operations in September 2016.

On Monday, December 8, 2014, city officials announced a plan to add 4,000 parking spaces at Love Field, including the proposed construction of a 5-level parking garage across from Ticket Hall. Despite a 2008 forecast predicting Love Field would have adequate parking to meet demand through 2018, the airport ran out of parking around midday on Thanksgiving, November 27, 2014, forcing arriving travelers to park off-airport and use other means to reach their flights. The parking shortage is expected to worsen in 2015 as the anticipated number of daily departures increases from 148 to 190.[65]

Runway 18/36, which had only 1% of operations in 2010, was closed in 2011 and is scheduled to be eliminated in 2017, due to its close proximity to housing on either side and the desire to build new office space at the south end.[66][67]

In 2018, Virgin America merged into Alaska Airlines, and the two gates assigned to Virgin America were transferred to Alaska.

As of October 2019, Southwest, Delta, and Alaska are the only major airlines to offer flights out of Love Field. Starting in December 2018, charter operator Taos Air has operated seasonal scheduled skiing-oriented flights to Taos Regional Airport in New Mexico using a 30-seat Fairchild Dornier 328JET; the flights are scheduled to operate from December 19 to March 29 for the 20192020 ski season.[68]

Previous airline service

Braniff International was once Love Field's largest carrier. It started flying there in the early 1930s.[69] American, Braniff, Continental, Delta, Eastern, Frontier, Ozark, and Texas International were the eight signatories of the 1968 regional airport agreement and moved to DFW when that airport opened in January 1974.[70]

Muse Air began operations at Love Field in 1981 with flights to William P. Hobby Airport in Houston. The airline was later purchased by Southwest Airlines and renamed TranStar Airlines in 1985 before ceasing operations in 1987.

Continental, through its regional affiliate Continental Express, was the first airline to move to DFW and subsequently relaunch flights at Love Field, starting daily 50-seat ERJ145 flights between Love Field and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston in 1998.[71] Interstate ERJ145 flights were added in 2000.[45] In 2012, Continental and United merged. United kept flying the route to Houston until March 2015.[72] Its 2 gates at the airport have since been subleased to Southwest Airlines.[73]

Love Field was the primary hub for the startup Legend Airlines. The airline's political efforts resulted in passage of the Shelby Amendment, allowing it to fly DC-9s refitted with 56 seats to distant cities like Los Angeles and New York City, the first airline to operate beyond the Wright Amendment region in the post-1974 era. Legend began flights in April 2000 but was unable to operate profitably, suspended all flights in December 2000, and shut down permanently in 2001.

American Airlines launched 56-seat flights in May 2000 to counter Legend, but canceled the service in 2001 following the September 11 attacks.[48] After the addition of Missouri to the Wright Amendment region, American came back to Love Field in 2006 to compete with Southwest.[49] It eventually terminated service to the airport and sold its 2 gates to Virgin America in 2014.[74]

Facilities and aircraft

Dallas Love Field covers an area of 530 hectares (1,300 acres) at an elevation of 148 metres (487 ft) above mean sea level. It has two runways:[1]

  • Runway 13L/31R: 7,752 by 150 feet (2,363 m × 46 m), Surface: Concrete (Built 1943, Extended 1952)[10]
  • Runway 13R/31L: 8,800 by 150 feet (2,682 m × 46 m), Surface: Concrete (Built 1965)[23]

For the 12-month period ending October 15, 2018, the airport had 192,570 aircraft operations, an average of 527 per day: 24% general aviation, 61% scheduled commercial, 14% air taxi and <1% military. At that time there were 293 aircraft based at this airport: 23 single-engine, 76 multi-engine, 185 jet and 9 helicopter.[1]

The City of Dallas Department of Aviation headquarters is on the grounds of the airport.[75]

Main terminal

Modernization of Love Field's terminals was announced in early 2009. The $519 million master plan replaced the existing terminal buildings with a single new 20-gate concourse.

Southwest has preferential leases to all but two of the gates, Gates 11 and 13, to which Alaska Airlines has preferential leases. A temporary gate-sharing agreement between Southwest and Delta and a similar agreement between United and Southwest ended on January 5 and 6, 2015, respectively, to allow expansion of the Southwest and United flight schedules.[64] United and Delta then entered into another agreement, permitting Delta to share one of United's gates until July 6, 2015.[62]

On January 30, 2015, Southwest Airlines announced they had entered into a sub-lease agreement for United's 2 Love Field gates; United ended service to Love Field on March 15, 2015. Southwest has announced additional flights and cities with the two extra gates.[76]

Since August 2015, Delta and Southwest have been fighting a legal battle over whether Delta should be allowed to remain at Love Field.[77] Delta has been sharing a Southwest gate, which has allegedly been impeding Southwest from adding more flights from the airport.[78] On January 9, 2016, the court ruled in favor of Delta.[79] Delta is now legally allowed to remain operating from Love Field using a Southwest gate.[80]

Legend terminal

Legend Airlines operated from a separate executive passenger terminal at Lemmon Avenue and Lovers Lane rather than the main passenger terminal. Upon Legend's 2001 collapse, the independent investors who built and owned the $20 million facility quickly subleased one gate to Delta Connection affiliate Atlantic Southeast Airlines, but the airline vacated the gate by the summer of 2002, although some office and parking garage space had been leased by then.[81] In 2006, after the Wright Amendment repeal imposed a 20-gate cap at Love Field, the Dallas City Council approved using eminent domain to raze the still-vacant terminal.[82] The gates were subsequently condemned by the federal government and torn down, with the owners receiving nothing in return. The owners disputed the condemnation, and in April 2016, a federal judge sided with owners Love Terminal Partners and Virginia Aerospace, ordering the government to pay them $133 million plus interest for having destroyed the property's economic value.[83]

Remaining buildings in the complex have been converted into a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility.

Airlines and destinations

Alaska Airlines Los Angeles, Portland (OR), San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma [84]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta [85]
Southwest Airlines Albuquerque, Amarillo, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham (AL), Burbank, Charlotte, ChicagoMidway, ColumbusGlenn, Denver, El Paso, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, HoustonHobby, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Louisville, Lubbock, Memphis, Midland/Odessa, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New Orleans, New YorkLaGuardia, Oakland, Omaha, Ontario, Orlando, Panama City (FL), Pensacola, PhoenixSky Harbor, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, Sacramento, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose (CA), Tampa, Tulsa, WashingtonNational, West Palm Beach
Seasonal: Boise, Boston, Charleston (SC), Cleveland, Corpus Christi, Detroit, Harlingen, Orange County, Philadelphia, Portland (OR), Reno/Tahoe, Seattle/Tacoma, Tucson
Taos Air Seasonal: Taos [87][88]


Airline Market Share
Percentage of total passengers (July 2019)[89][90]
Rank Airline Share
1 Southwest Airlines 93.96%
2 Alaska Airlines 3.25%
3 Delta Air Lines 2.16%
Top destinations
Busiest domestic routes from DAL (September 2018 August 2019)[91][92][93][94]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 HoustonHobby, Texas 606,000 Southwest
2 Atlanta, Georgia 384,000 Delta, Southwest
3 San Antonio, Texas 343,000 Southwest
4 Denver, Colorado 328,000 Southwest
5 Austin, Texas 317,000 Southwest
6 Los Angeles, California 294,000 Alaska, Southwest
7 Chicago, Illinois 291,000 Southwest
8 PhoenixSky Harbor, Arizona 277,000 Southwest
9 Las Vegas, Nevada 257,000 Southwest
10 New Orleans, Louisiana 246,000 Southwest
Annual traffic
Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) at Dallas Love Field, 1996 through 2018
Year Passengers Year Passengers Year Passengers
1996 7,064,515 2006 6,874,717 2016 15,562,738
1997 6,807,894 2007 7,953,385 2017 15,723,617
1998 6,715,596 2008 8,060,792 2018 16,229,151
1999 6,820,867 2009 7,744,522
2000 7,077,549 2010 7,960,809
2001 6,685,618 2011 7,980,020
2002 5,622,754 2012 8,173,927
2003 5,588,930 2013 8,470,586
2004 5,889,756 2014 9,413,636
2005 5,909,599 2015 14,497,498

Public transit

Currently, DART bus route 524 serves the airport terminal directly. Passengers can ride this bus route to nearby Inwood/Love Field Station, which is served by DART's Orange & Green light rail lines. There is no walking path between the terminal and the rail station, so passengers must take the bus to travel to or from the airport by rail.

Charter Service and FBOs

Love Field is also home to a number of charter flight companies and FBOs including:

Accidents and incidents

  • December 23, 1936: A Braniff Airways Lockheed Model 10 Electra airliner, registration number NC-14905, suffered an engine failure during a go-around while conducting a non-scheduled test flight. The aircraft entered a spin and crashed on the northern shore of Bachman Lake when the pilot attempted to turn back toward Love Field. All six Braniff employees aboard died in the crash and ensuing fire.[95]
  • November 29, 1949: American Airlines Flight 157, a Douglas DC-6, was on final approach to Runway 36 when the flight crew lost control, causing the airliner to slide off the runway and strike buildings. 26 passengers and two flight attendants died in the crash and ensuing fire; the pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, and 15 others survived.
  • June 28, 1952: A Temco Swift private plane collided with American Airlines Flight 910, a Douglas DC-6 on final approach to Love Field from San Francisco, California; the DC-6 landed safely with no injuries to the 55 passengers and five crew. Both occupants of the Swift died on impact with the ground.
  • May 15, 1953: A Braniff International Airways Douglas DC-4 carrying 48 passengers and five crew slid off the end of Runway 36, crossed Lemmon Avenue, and plowed into an embankment. Despite reportedly heavy automobile traffic on the busy street, no vehicles were struck, and nobody aboard the airliner was seriously injured. The crash was attributed to poor braking action on the rain-slicked runway.[96]
  • July 9, 1953: A Southern Air Transport Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando cargo transport, carrying a crew of two, skidded off the runway and flipped over after a hard landing. The pilot suffered significant injuries; the co-pilot escaped safely.[97]
  • May 14, 1960: The pilot of a Beechcraft Bonanza private plane suffered an apparent heart attack and fell unconscious while en route from Fort Worth to Dallas. The pilot's wife and sole passenger, who was not a trained pilot, managed to guide the Bonanza to Love Field but crashed while attempting to land. Both occupants suffered severe injuries and the pilot was pronounced dead, but it is unclear whether his death resulted from the heart attack or from injuries sustained during the crash.[98][99]
  • September 14, 1960: An airline maintenance inspector lost control of a Braniff International Airways Douglas DC-7 during a taxi test and crashed into a hangar at high speed. The inspector died and five of the six mechanics aboard were injured.[100]
  • April 18, 1962: A Douglas DC-3 operated by an aviation company affiliated with Purdue University, registration number N3588, crashed immediately after taking off to test a newly installed engine. The craft exploded into flames, killing all three people aboard.[101][102] The crash was attributed to insufficient airspeed at takeoff, and the National Transportation Safety Board noted that the pilot was not properly qualified to fly a DC-3.[103]
  • April 19, 1963: A Beechcraft Bonanza private plane crashed short of the runway on final approach, killing both occupants.[104]
  • January 29, 1966: A Piper Cherokee Six air taxi, registration number N3246W, suffered an engine failure on final approach to Love Field and struck trees while the pilot was attempting an emergency landing on a nearby street.[105] The pilot and five passengers were injured; the engine failure was attributed to carburetor icing.[106]
  • February 10, 1967: A Beechcraft D18S, registration number N7388, crashed at Love Field after a propeller blade separated during takeoff; the pilot and both passengers died.[107]
  • September 27, 1967: All seven occupants of an Aero Commander 560E, registration number N3831C, died after the left-hand wing broke during the landing approach, sending the plane plummeting into Mockingbird Lane in Highland Park, Texas. Wreckage tore through the playground of Bradfield Elementary School. The school was not in session and nobody on the ground was seriously harmed.[108]
  • September 29, 1970: After a scheduled flight from Denver, Colorado, the landing gear of a Braniff International Airways Boeing 720, registration number N7080, collapsed during landing. The automatic gear extension mechanism had failed in flight and the flight crew manually lowered the gear but neglected to lock it in the "Down" position. The airliner slid to a halt on the runway, suffering significant damage. There were no injuries to the 47 passengers and seven crew.[109][110]
  • June 7, 1971: A Dallas Police Department Bell 47G-5 helicopter, registration number N2022W, was destroyed when heavy winds blew the craft into an airfield fence during landing; the observer suffered minor injuries and the pilot escaped safely.[111][112]
  • December 26, 1973: The pilot of a Tricon International Airlines Beechcraft C-45H cargo transport, registration number N118X, lost control while circling Love Field for a precautionary landing after being unable to raise the landing gear during takeoff. The C-45 struck two houses southeast of the airport, killing the pilot and injuring a person on the ground. The crash was attributed to insufficient airspeed and improper loading.[113][114]
  • April 18, 1975: A Cessna 310F, registration number N5818X, ran off the end of the runway, struck a fence, and burned after losing engine power during takeoff. The craft's two occupants, a student pilot and flight instructor, escaped with minor injuries. The crash was attributed to fuel starvation: the student pilot had mishandled the fuel control valve (known as the fuel selector) and taken off with the fuel tanks disconnected from the engines.[115][116]
  • June 8, 1976: The pilot of a Cessna 175, registration number N9259B, executed an emergency landing on nearby Mockingbird Lane soon after takeoff from Love Field, striking a telephone pole and a moving automobile. The aircraft was substantially damaged, but there were no serious injuries to the aircraft's four occupants or to the driver of the car. The crash was attributed to insufficient airspeed and overloading.[117][118]
  • April 20, 1990: A Beechcraft Baron 58, registration number N770X, crashed short of Runway 31L, destroying the aircraft and killing the pilot, who was the sole occupant. The pilot had requested permission to return to the airport immediately after takeoff, and a witness reported hearing the engines "sputtering and misfiring" before the crash. NTSB investigators determined that the fuel boost pump controls were set improperly, which would have caused a loss of engine power. The accident was attributed to "The pilot's improper use of the fuel boost pumps for take [sic], and his failure to maintain airspeed above the minimum single engine control speed (VMC), which resulted in a loss of aircraft control."[119]
  • January 27, 2000: After its tailplane deicing system failed during the landing approach, a Misubishi MU-300 business jet, registration number N900WJ, touched down on Runway 31R at higher-than-normal speed as recommended for such a situation. When it became evident that the aircraft was going to overrun the runway due to the high speed and poor braking action on the slush-covered pavement, the pilot purposely steered the jet into an embankment to avoid striking light poles past the far end of the runway. There were no injuries to the four passengers or two crew, but the aircraft was written off.[120][121]

See also


  1. ^ The crash occurred in the neighborhood northwest of Love Field and southeast of Bachman Lake; many of the buildings and streets in this area were later removed to accommodate Runway 13R/31L.
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External links

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