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Thu, Oct 20, 2005

Southwest Airline's 'Petition Stunt' Irks American Airlines Unions

APA, APFA and TWU Issue Statement In Support Of The Wright Amendment

The following statement was released Wednesday by union leaders at American Airlines regarding Southwest Airline's attempt to repeal or modify the Wright Amendment. That legislation, in effect for decades, restricts flights out of SWA's home airport, Love Field in Dallas:

Labor unions representing pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, dispatchers, instructors, simulator technicians and ground service employees of American Airlines expressed their dismay at the public relations manipulation Southwest Airlines has used in an attempt to convince the public of the necessity to overturn the Wright Amendment.

The Presidents of the Allied Pilots Association, Association of Professional Flight Attendants, and the Transport Workers Union representing more than 50,000 employees of American Airlines have united in an effort to show that the campaign by Southwest to repeal the Wright Amendment is a prime example of selfish opportunism rather than a plea for the freedom to fly.

Southwest is trying to change the rules for their own benefit. First in Dallas, and then Seattle's Boeing Field, Southwest has attempted to avoid paying their share of the costs for infrastructure while attempting to carve out niches at nearby airports for their sole benefit.

Southwest has not so subtly claimed that "arcane rules" restrict their ability to provide service from Dallas Love Field, stifle competition and impede their "freedom to fly." What they are really saying is they don't want to pay their share of the cost to develop and maintain modern airport facilities like other carriers; they don't want to abide by agreements they have made in the past to accommodate only them; and they want special rules so they can enjoy government protection from competition.

Delivering petitions collected at bars, restaurants and other non-aviation related venues to Washington is a cheap publicity stunt that uses the false promise of low fares to masquerade Southwest's real objective -- to renege on a compromise they agreed to in 1979 and create a legislatively protected monopoly at Love Field. What they fail to mention in their campaign is the negative affect repealing the Wright Amendment would have on the D/FW Metroplex and surrounding counties from a resulting loss of jobs and economic strength.

They also conveniently omit the fact that Southwest Airlines has the "freedom to fly" unrestricted from DFW today, and has been offered lucrative incentives to do so. Southwest should take advantage of this opportunity and truly compete by offering customers alleged low fares at DFW, or they should abide by the agreement they made and promised to uphold 26 years ago. They can't have it both ways and are welcome at DFW anytime.

FMI: www.southwest.com, www.aa.com

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