Southwest Airlines Chairman Offers Remarks on Bill to Repeal Wright Amendment

DALLAS, May 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Today, Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) Chairman Herb Kelleher commented on legislation introduced by two Texas congressmen to repeal the Wright Amendment that unfairly restricts flights at Dallas Love Field. The following are excerpts from a press briefing:

“Southwest Airlines has been a bonanza in markets where we are allowed to offer unbridled, unconstrained, unshackled, low-fare service; not only by increasing traffic, but by creating a boon to local economic development,” said Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines Executive Chairman. “Any time competition is fettered, it is a penalty to consumers.

“The size of Southwest Airlines’ task force may pale in comparison to our competitors,” Kelleher continued. “All we have is truth, right and justice on our side — which makes us very successful. Those who are working to abolish the amendment are standing for the American people, for consumerism, and for free enterprise.

“There are crazy, weird, bizarre restrictions about what passengers can and can’t do at Love Field; getting rid of the restrictions would be a considerable boon to the United States and our Customers. We are asking Congress to eliminate limitations that should have never been imposed in the first place; we are asking for the freedom to compete,” Kelleher concluded.

“The Right to Fly Act” is the first legislation to be introduced since the need for the Wright Amendment was last called into question in November 2004. The 26-year-old congressional amendment limits nonstop flights from Dallas’ Love Field airport to Texas and its four touching states (three additional states were added in 1997). Designed to protect a then-fledgling DFW International Airport, the Wright Amendment now prevents meaningful low fare airline competition to and from the Dallas/Ft. Worth travel market and serves to keep airfares high.

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Southwest Airlines Applauds Senate Bill to Repeal Wright Amendment

DALLAS, July 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) applauds the fact that today, under the sponsorship of Senator John Ensign from Nevada, joined by Senators John McCain from Arizona, Sam Brownback from Kansas, and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; a U.S. Senate bill was introduced that would amend the 26-year old Wright Amendment. This complements the introduction by U.S. Representatives Jeb Hensarling and Sam Johnson (now joined by 23 House co-sponsors), of their “Right to Fly Act” in the United States House of Representatives.

Southwest Airlines applauds the tremendous leadership and vision of Senators Ensign, McCain, Brownback, and Lieberman who are true benefactors of the people of America. This is another significant step toward the ultimate goal of opening the skies for greater access to low fares as a result of unfettered airline competition.

Studies show the Wright Amendment deprives people all across America of $700,000,000 per year in lower air fares and $3,500,000,000 per year in the economic and personal benefits conferred by 3.7 million more annual passenger trips. The Wright Amendment, restricting access to Southwest Airlines’ low fares at Dallas Love Field, is truly a national issue.

The introduction of the Senate Bill is a major step forward in bringing the Freedom to Fly to 3.7 million more Americans per year, and the People of Southwest Airlines will remain diligent in their efforts to educate the public on the importance of stimulating the economy through greater access to low- fare air travel.

We are thankful for, and gratified by, the introduction of the Senate Bill today.

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