New Comprehensive Study Shows Opening Dallas Love Field to Long-Haul Flying Would Have Serious Consequences

Eclat Consulting Says Wright Amendment Repeal Could Result in Major Loss of Air Service in Dallas/Fort Worth Market and Adversely Impact Dozens of Communities in 22 States

FORT WORTH, Texas, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — A study conducted by Eclat Consulting concludes that the repeal of a federal law known as the Wright Amendment — thus allowing long-haul flying at Love Field in Dallas — would trigger a chain reaction leading to significant losses in the number of flights and destinations served at the nearby Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW).

The loss includes both international routes and service to dozens of small- to medium-sized cities throughout Texas and the United States.

Smaller communities would bear the brunt of the changes, the study found, losing vital access to the nation’s air transportation system that they enjoy today via DFW, as American Airlines is forced to move flights to Love Field. International service also would be significantly reduced. The results of the study, commissioned by American Airlines, were based on publicly-available data and Eclat’s internal models.

Eclat Consulting, a Washington-based aviation consulting practice, predicts that while Love Field would gain approximately 251 daily flights (in and out) to major metropolitan areas the benefit of the additional Love Field flights would be greatly outweighed by the loss of approximately 436 daily flights at DFW — with the greatest harm felt on routes to smaller towns and foreign destinations with fewer passengers.

The net loss of 185 daily flights would have a negative economic impact for the North Texas region and a serious reduction in connecting service opportunities for many smaller communities now served by American Airlines, its regional affiliate American Eagle, or the AmericanConnection carriers.

“American and the other airlines currently operating out of DFW would be forced to move a large number of flights from DFW Airport to Love Field to compete with Southwest Airlines if the Wright Amendment is repealed,” said William S. Swelbar, president and managing partner of Eclat Consulting. “If that happens, ‘hub degradation’ would take place, making marginal routes unprofitable. Inevitably, those unprofitable routes would be eliminated.”

If the DFW hub shrinks there would be fewer connecting flights, resulting in reduced service to smaller communities that rely on American’s extensive route network as their link to the world. The study also suggests that additional flight reductions likely will come from Southwest as it accelerates its historic trend of reducing service to smaller cities in Texas and surrounding states and begins long-haul flying from Love Field.

On the surface, according to the study, the repeal of the Wright Amendment appears to be strictly a Dallas/Fort Worth issue and one that affects only American Airlines and Southwest. It is not.

“The repeal of the Wright Amendment is certainly a commercial issue for the carriers most affected, but the losers will be smaller communities that rely on DFW to provide access to, and competition within, the U.S. air transportation system,” said Swelbar.

According to the study, the cities most at risk of losing service or seeing a reduction in service include 11 in Texas — Abilene, College Station, Corpus Christi, Killeen, Laredo, Longview, McAllen, San Angelo, Tyler, Waco and Wichita Falls. In addition, service to Fayetteville, Ft. Smith and Texarkana, Ark.; Lawton, Okla.; and Springfield, Mo., would also be at most risk.

The study also suggests that small cities that rely solely on federally- subsidized Essential Air Service (EAS) provided by the AmericanConnection carriers will see the effectiveness of their only air service degraded as they lose the ability to connect to important domestic and international destinations. Those EAS cities include Burlington, Iowa; Kirksville, Cape Girardeau, Joplin and Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo; Marion, Quincy and Decatur, Ill.; Owensboro, Ky.; and Jackson, Tenn.

Metropolitan areas in 22 states also face a risk of reduced flights including, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

“Business and leisure travelers headed to international destinations will be adversely affected if the Wright Amendment is repealed and American Airlines is forced to move flights from DFW to Love Field in order to compete with Southwest,” said Swelbar. “Fewer connecting flights at DFW mean fewer connecting passengers are available to combine with local travelers on routes that need such a strong mix in order to be financially viable. We believe flights from DFW to London; Paris; Zurich; Los Cabos; Puerto Vallarta; Leon, Mexico; Guadalajara; Cozumel; Belize City; San Jose, Costa Rica; Caracas; Lima; Sao Paulo; Santiago, Chile; and Buenos Aires will be affected.”

“We have no doubt that those elected officials advocating repeal of the Wright Amendment are well-motivated and genuinely believe that repeal would be in the public interest,” said Will Ris, American’s Senior Vice President – Government Affairs. “But as the Eclat study so succinctly points out, a change of such magnitude can unleash unintended consequences that ripple throughout the transportation system.

“Those consequences simply can’t be avoided by American sitting back and doing nothing if the agreement upon which we and the communities have relied for years is suddenly undone. Given the disproportionate economic power and resources of Southwest Airlines, which is now the nation’s largest and wealthiest domestic airline and which dominates Love Field, we would have no choice but to respond decisively.

While neither American nor American Eagle can say for sure what specific actions would be taken should the Wright Amendment be repealed or altered, the Eclat study does suggest one highly plausible scenario.”

To view the American Airlines-Eclat Consulting Webcast or see the Eclat Study go to: http://www.videonewswire.com/event.asp?id=30684 .

About Eclat Consulting

Eclat Consulting, located in Reston, Virginia, specializes in the economics of commercial aviation. The firm advises the full spectrum of aviation clients, including airlines, airports, investors, governments and aerospace/aeronautics corporations. Eclat has completed numerous assignments that rely on its knowledge of airline network planning issues and the competitive aviation market.

About American Airlines

American Airlines is the world’s largest airline. American, American Eagle and the AmericanConnection(R) regional airlines serve more than 250 cities in over 40 countries with more than 3,800 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 1,000 aircraft. American’s award-winning Web site, AA.com, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld Alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. Together, its members serve more than 600 destinations in over 135 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation (NYSE:AMR) .

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