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Pillsbury Team Helps Secure Delta’s Right to Fly out of Dallas Love Field

As mentioned by: Law360
February 2, 2017

A majority in the Fifth Circuit has ruled that Southwest Airlines Co. cannot stop Delta Air Lines Inc. from operating flights out of Love Field airport in Dallas. Instead, an appellate panel ruled that Southwest is required to accommodate Delta and upholds an injunction that allows Delta to operate at the airport while the case is in progress.

The dispute between the two airlines began when Southwest expanded its flight schedule at Love Field and attempted to repossess a gate that had been temporarily allocated to Delta. In response, Delta asserted that under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s competition policy and federal aviation law, it was authorized to keep the accommodation.

Since the airport is owned by the city of Dallas, the city turned the decision over to a district court in June 2015. During the subsequent three-day hearing in September 2015, Delta alleged that Southwest was employing anti-competitive practices, and Southwest claimed that continuing to allow Delta to use the gate was ruining the company’s reputation due to an increase in daily delays at the airport.

District Judge Ed Kinkeade granted Delta an injunction designating the Atlanta-based airline as a third-party beneficiary of Southwest’s Love Field lease and allowing Delta to continue operating five flights a day out of its assigned Southwest gate. Southwest appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit, which resulted in last week’s ruling.

Washington, DC Aviation, Aerospace & Transportation partners Kenneth Quinn and Jennifer Trock represent Delta.

Read more about the Love Field dispute on Law360.

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