The Deadman Night Rider

A forum for evening students of the SMU Dedman School of Law and other outlaws..

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Driving in from Cowtown this morning I saw a billboard that said "What does DFW have to say to Southwest? Welcome." In the corner it listed a website address:

Curious to see what a bunch of rentseeking bastards might have to say, I logged on. I wasn't disappointed. For an object lesson in bloated private bureaucracies using their governmental connections to protect their own inefficiencies by hindering a viable, efficient competitor, have a look for yourself. The website makes a much better case for that proposition than it does for keeping the Wright amendment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, find the antics of the DFW Airport Board truly impressive.

A government agency, is using public funds to engage in a disinformation campaign designed to:
1) confuse and mislead the general public; and
2) harass one of the area's largest employers.

To be fair, the Board faces an unusual challenge: serving the public interest notwithstanding the fact that most of its budget appears to be funded by American Airlines.

Unfortunately, the Board members appear to have abdicated their roles as public servants entirely.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I don't really see that this "hinders" Southwest. From what I understand, DFW is offering Southwest a $20 million dollar incentive package, not to mention the ability to fly anywhere in the country without restriction. If Southwest is able to compete on equal footing (i.e. at the same airport) as other airlines, they should be jumping at this chance instead of just grumbling about the rules needing to be changed.

11:08 AM  
Blogger rattlerd said...

The whole purpose of the Wright amendment was to hinder Southwest. That's why it applies to exactly one airport, period. If AA ever thought that SW was only competitive because it's all alone at Luv, they'd have written the law to do away with that instead.

Rentseeking is crappy law AND crappy economics, meaning everybody takes it in the rear both as a voter and a consumer. We deserve better.

I realize that, in the words of an old econ professor of mine, perfect competition is like virginity--much lauded in theory, but disparaged in practice. But, c'mon--we have to aspire to something. The Wright amendment is just embarrassing.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A side angle to whole debate is the potential role of law firms as de facto "money launderers" when it comes to political contributions.

Witness Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's continued insistence that the Wright Amendment must stay... on the surface, it's an inexplicable position. The overwhelming majority of her constituents appear to support repeal, the law appears to run counter to virtually everything the Republican Party stands for, the monopoly appears to inflict real, chronic damage on North Texas... yet she really, really likes it. Why?

Now, look at her largest contributor. For years, collectively, it appears that Vinson & Elkins has been her main "sponsor." Let's see, what happens at Vinson & Elkins? Well, for one thing, that's where her husband hangs his hat.

For another... well, hmmm.... it appears that Vinson & Elkins does a booming business representing both AA and the DFW Airport Board as bond counsel.

Let's see... AA and the DFW Airport Board hand over huge sums to V & E to take the cush job as "bond counsel"... then, coincidentally, V & E happens to be Sen. K.B. Hutchisons biggest backer.

Crazy coincidence, no?

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rattlerd....I guess I don't really understand how the purpose of the law was to hinder Southwest. It was created in 1979 when Southwest was a nobody in the airline busines, they didn't become a major player until about 15 years later.

I agree we should have perfect competition. But how can we have perfect competition when Southwest wants to compete at an airport all by itself? Perfect competition would be Southwest and American both competing from the same airport, thus competing from the same playing field. Southwest is a smart and well-run company, they could do this if they wanted.

2:34 PM  
Blogger rattlerd said...


I see the point, but I'm not sure that SW is suggesting that they keep Love Field all to themselves after repeal. I may be totally wrong on that, but that's my understanding. In any case, one thing is obvious--consumers like having Love Field as an option and would like for it to serve more destinations directly.

The Pro-Wrighters say that no matter what, this would hurt DFW, yet Houston seems to do OK with IAH and Hobby.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Southwest has no interest in "keeping the airport all to itself."

Indeed, even if it wanted to, it couldn't due to a federal law known as "AIR-21," which serves to ensure that no airline is "locked out" of an airport from which it wishes to operate.

11:10 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home