Virgin Says It Will Fly From Dallas Love Field

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Virgina America (credit: Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images)

Virgina America (credit: Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images)

BURLINGAME (CBS SF/AP) – Virgin America says it’s landed at Dallas Love Field airport.

The airline said Friday that it had won the rights to fly from Love Field to New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco.

It was competing for two airport slots that American Airlines agreed to relinquish as part of its merger with US Airways. The city of Dallas has not formally signed off on the transfer, but is expected to vote Monday.

Love Field is the smaller, close-to-city alternative to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Southwest Airlines Co. controls 16 of the airport’s 20 gates, and Delta Air Lines has the remaining two. Both Southwest and Delta were vying for the open American gates.

Virgin America landed one of its red-painted jets at Love Field Thursday night and made its announcement Friday morning.

“Dallas is a global center of industry and it deserves more business-friendly flight options from the airport most convenient to downtown,” airline CEO David Cush said in an emailed statement.

Virgin plans to debut service this fall to New York-LaGuardia, Washington’s Reagan National, Los Angeles International and San Francisco International, with two flights to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport starting next year. It says it will end its service to DFW Airport as part of that shift.

Moving from DFW to Love Field, a few miles from downtown Dallas, will allow Virgin to compete for Dallas-based travelers and business clients.

“The opportunity to expand our service at Love allows us to not only spur more fare competition, but also provide travelers with a different kind of flight option – one that allows them to stay connected, comfortable and productive on long-haul flights to major business destinations,” Cush said in a statement.

The American-US Airways merger also made it possible for Virgin to move into LaGuardia and Reagan National, both of which also have high demand from airlines due to their close-to-city locations.

The U.S. Justice Department pushed for the combined airline to give up several slots at both airports as part of its settlement of an antitrust lawsuit after the merger.

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