We just passed our one-year anniversary for American Eagle’s non-stop service to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) in July. Our service to DFW is critical to our long-term success for air service development. After the downsizing of American service to St. Louis, Peoria was one of the first non-hub sized communities to obtain non-stop service on the American system to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. DFW is a tremendous gateway that allows us to bypass the congestion problems at Chicago O’Hare. O’Hare is still important to this region; however, until the infrastructure improvements are fully in place, O’Hare isn’t always an efficient gateway for central Illinois travelers.
The Wright Amendment is a 25-year-old law that puts flight restrictions into Love Field Airport in Dallas. The amendment was passed as a response to the City of Dallas not closing Love Field Airport as agreed upon when current DFW Airport was built. Typically, restrictions against competition aren’t favorable to the consumer. But, American has built a wonderful hub system at DFW, which allows communities like Peoria air service opportunities.
If the Wright Amendment restrictions are lifted, American may be forced to reduce air service to smaller communities. American’s position is that they’ll re-allocate aircraft to Love Field Airport to compete with Southwest Airlines. Based on history and the current trends with air service, small communities’ air service will be sacrificed as American will keep their aircraft equipment serving the larger markets into DFW. Also, you’ll most likely see a reduction in flight options, as experienced in St. Louis.
DFW Airport’s consultant study demonstrated that a repeal of the Wright Amendment could shift hundreds of flights and millions of passengers to Dallas Love Field. Also, the study concluded DFW could lose flights to many cities, including international service. The study’s worst-case scenario showed DFW could lose 204 daily flights and 21 million passengers.
Southwest’s model doesn’t lend its service to smaller communities. Also, Southwest has service from Midway Airport, which is geographically too close for it to add service in central Illinois. Peoria needs competitively priced air service from the major carriers into their major hubs so our businesses’ employees and citizens can get to many destinations in the United States and worldwide.
We’re requesting your support by asking you to send letters to our elected officials to encourage Congress not to eliminate the Wright Amendment. Thank you for your consideration. IBI