May not solve the Wright issue today, but it would help if DFW, FTW and DAL (and possibly AFW, ADS and RBD) were run by the same entity - like other major cities.
Is part of the solution to the fight over long-distance flights at Dallas Love Field a new regional authority to manage air service in North Texas?
Some officials think so.
While waiting for Air Force One and President Bush to land in Dallas last week, Mayor Laura Miller told U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson that she was discussing the idea of creating such an entity, overseeing Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Love Field and possibly Fort Worth Meacham International Airport.
According to Ms. Johnson, Ms. Miller said she had broached the idea to Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief.
"She was saying they needed some time, and wanted to know if a resolution asking Congress for a cease-fire until they could come up with a plan would be possible," said Ms. Johnson, D-Dallas. "We thought it was a good idea."
It's unclear how a regional authority would solve the tangled debate over the Wright amendment, which limits Love Field to short-haul flights. The 1979 law has been loosened twice, most recently in November when Missouri became the eighth state that can be served with interstate flights from Love.
Would the authority pool finances among the airports, potentially limiting the impact of lost revenue on D/FW Airport should carriers prefer an unrestricted Love Field? How would power be distributed between Dallas and Fort Worth? Would the body be able to enforce growth limits at Love?
Ms. Johnson, whose district includes Love Field, said she did not know how many times the two mayors have met or how far their discussions have gone.
But she said the idea would be for a regional body to come up with a solution to the battle over lifting restrictions at Love. The authority could then ask Congress for appropriate changes to the law.
Ms. Miller also raised the idea of having the two city councils approve resolutions asking Congress to hold off on further changes in the law until the regional authority can fashion a compromise, Ms. Johnson said.
"She thought she could get it through the council," Ms. Johnson said. "I think the mayor of Fort Worth could do the same."
Ms. Miller confirmed that she had talked about a number of issues with lawmakers last week at Love Field, but declined to say whether they discussed the Wright amendment.
"We had a great talk, and I enjoyed their insights and good counsel on a number of issues," the mayor said in an e-mail.
Mr. Moncrief said a regional airport authority was one of many options.
"A local solution to the Wright amendment discussion is not a new concept and is something that all of us in North Texas are working toward," he said. "Because thousands of families depend on D/FW Airport for employment, it is imperative that we work together as a region to preserve the integrity and strength of this airport."
Industry analysts say regional airport authorities are created to fit the specific needs of a community, and no two are alike.
In Houston and Chicago, for example, the airports are operated as city departments. Other multi-community systems use an independent body, such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.