< Back to S. 3661 (109th Congress, 2005–2006)

Text of the Wright Amendment Reform Act of 2006

This bill was enacted after being signed by the President on October 13, 2006. The text of the bill below is as of Aug 1, 2006 (Reported by Senate Committee).

This is not the latest text of this bill.

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S 3661 RS

Calendar No. 563

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3661

[Report No. 109-317]

To amend section 29 of the International Air Transportation Competition Act of 1979 relating to air transportation to and from Love Field, Texas.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 13, 2006

Mrs. HUTCHISON (for herself, Mr. CORNYN, Mr. INHOFE, and Mr. HARKIN) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

August 1, 2006

Reported by Mr. STEVENS, with an amendment

[Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic]


A BILL

To amend section 29 of the International Air Transportation Competition Act of 1979 relating to air transportation to and from Love Field, Texas.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

[Struck out->] SECTION 1. MODIFICATION OF PROVISIONS REGARDING FLIGHTS TO AND FROM LOVE FIELD, TEXAS. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (a) Expanded Service- Section 29(c) of the International Air Transportation Competition Act of 1979 (Public Law 96-192; 94 Stat. 48 et seq.), as previously amended by section 337 of Public Law 105-66, 111 Stat. 1447 (1997) and section 181 of Public Law 109-115, 119 Stat. 2430 (2005) is further amended by striking `carrier, if (1)' and all that follows and inserting the following: `carrier. Air carriers and, with regard to foreign air transportation, foreign air carriers, may offer for sale and provide through service and ticketing to or from Love Field, Texas, and any U.S. or foreign destination through any point within Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Alabama.'. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (b) Repeal- Section 29 of the International Air Transportation Competition Act of 1979 (Public Law 96-192; 94 Stat. 48 et seq.), as previously amended by section 337 of Public Law 105-66, 111 Stat. 1447 (1997) and section 181 of Public Law 109-115, 119 Stat. 2430 (2005), and as further amended by subsection (a), is repealed on the date that is eight (8) years after the date of enactment of this Act. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 2. TREATMENT OF INTERNATIONAL NON-STOP FLIGHTS TO AND FROM LOVE FIELD, TEXAS. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] No person shall provide, or offer to provide, air transportation of passengers for compensation or hire between Love Field, Texas, and any point or points outside the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia on a non-stop basis, and no official or employee of the Federal Government may take any action to make or designate Love Field, Texas, an initial point of entry into the United States or a last point of departure from the United States. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 3. CHARTER FLIGHTS AT LOVE FIELD, TEXAS. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (a) In General- Charter flights (as defined in 14 C.F.R. 212.2) at Love Field, Texas, shall be limited to destinations within the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia and shall be limited to no more than ten per month per air carrier for charter flights beyond the States of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Alabama. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (b) Carriers Who Lease Gates- Except for any flights operated by any agency of the U.S. Government or by any airline under contract to any agency of the U.S. Government, all flights operated by air carriers that lease terminal gate space at Love Field, Texas, shall depart from and arrive at one of those leased gates. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (c) Carriers Who Do Not Lease Gates- Charter flights operated by air carriers that do not lease terminal space at Love Field, Texas, may operate from non-terminal facilities or one of the terminal gates. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 4. AGREEMENT OF THE PARTIES. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (a) In General- Except as provided in subsection (b), any actions taken by the City of Dallas, the City of Fort Worth, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and/or the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Board (referred to in this section as the `parties') that are reasonably necessary to implement the provisions of the agreement dated July 11, 2006, and titled CONTRACT AMONG THE CITY OF DALLAS, THE CITY OF FORT WORTH, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO., AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC., AND DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT BOARD INCORPORATING THE SUBSTANCE OF THE TERMS OF THE JUNE 15, 2006 JOINT STATEMENT BETWEEN THE PARTIES TO RESOLVE THE `WRIGHT AMENDMENT' ISSUES, shall be deemed to comply in all respects with the parties' obligations under all Federal laws, rules, orders, agreements, and other requirements. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (b) Safety- Nothing in subsection (a) shall be construed to limit the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration over aviation safety at Love Field, Texas. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (c) Love Field Gates- The number of gates available for passenger air service at Love Field, Texas, shall be reduced, as soon as practicable, to no more than twenty (20) gates, and thereafter shall not exceed a maximum of twenty (20) gates. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (d) General Aviation- Nothing in the agreement described in subsection (a) shall affect general aviation service at Love Field, Texas, including, but not limited to, flights to or from Love Field by general aviation aircraft for air taxi service, private or sport flying, aerial photography, crop dusting, corporate aviation, medical evacuation, flight training, police or fire fighting, and similar general aviation purposes, or by aircraft operated by any agency of the U.S. Government or by any airline under contract to any agency of the U.S. Government. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (e) Enforcement- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Transportation and the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration are prohibited from making findings or determinations, promulgating orders or rules, withholding airport improvement grants or approvals thereof, denying passenger facility charge applications, or taking any other action either self-initiated or on behalf of third parties, that is inconsistent with the provisions of the agreement described in subsection (a), or that challenge the legality of any of its provisions. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 5. JURISDICTION AND VENUE. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] Any action giving rise to a claim under this Act shall be instituted in the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Texas. [<-Struck out]

[Struck out->] SEC. 6. APPLICABILITY. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (a) In General- The provisions of this Act shall apply only to actions taken at Love Field, Texas, or air transportation to or from Love Field, Texas, under the agreement described in section 4(a) of this Act and shall have no application to any other airport. [<-Struck out]

    [Struck out->] (b) Safety Review- The provisions of this Act shall not take effect if, within thirty (30) days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration determines and notifies Congress that aviation operations in the airspace serving Love Field, Texas, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area that will be facilitated by the agreement described in section 4(a) and by this Act, cannot be accommodated in compliance with FAA safety standards in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 40101. [<-Struck out]

SECTION 1. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:

      (1) The Dallas-Fort Worth region is served by two large airports, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Love Field. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines each have their headquarters, respectively, at these two airports.

      (2) Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport ranks fourth nationally and had more than 28 million enplanements in 2005. Love Field ranks fifty-sixth and had nearly 3 million enplanements in 2005.

      (3) The history of the development and creation of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and the subsequent use of Love Field has been one of continuous disagreement, frequent litigation, and constant uncertainty within the local communities. As a result of these factors, this has been the only time that Congress has intervened, with the consent of the local communities, to promulgate specific rules relating to the scope of a locally owned airport. Having done so, the dispute cannot end without a change in federal statutes. Therefore, Congress recognizes the completely unique historical circumstances involving these two airport and cities and the previous unprecedented history of legislation. This legislation is based on the compelling consensus of the civic parties to resolve the dispute on a permanent basis, assure the end of litigation, and establish long-term stability.

      (4) In 1979, Congress intervened and passed legislation known as the Wright Amendment which imposed restrictions at Love Field limiting service from the airport to points within the State of Texas and States contiguous to Texas. Congress has since allowed service to the additional States of Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, and Missouri. At the urging of Congressional leaders, local community leaders have reached consensus on a proposal for eliminating the restrictions at Love Field in a manner deemed equitable by the involved parties. That consensus is reflected in an agreement dated July 11, 2006.

      (5) The agreement dated July 11, 2006, does not limit an air carrier's access to the Dallas Fort Worth metropolitan area, and in fact may increase access opportunities to other carriers and communities. It is not Congressional intent to limit any air carrier's access to either airport.

      (6) At the urging of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the communities originally intended to create one large international airport, and close Love Field to commercial air transportation. Funding for the new airport was, in part, predicated on the closing of Love Field to commercial service, and was agreed to by the carriers then serving Love Field. Southwest Airlines, created after the local decision was made, asserted its rights and as a result a new international airport was built, and Love Field remained open.

      (7) Congress also recognizes that the agreement, dated July 11, 2006, does not harm any city that is currently being served by these airports, and thus the agreement does not adversely affect the airline industry or other communities that are currently receiving service, or hope to receive service in the future.

      (8) Congress finds that the agreement, dated July 11, 2006, furthers the public interest as consumers in, and accessing, the Dallas and Fort Worth areas should benefit from increased competition.

      (9) Congress also recognizes that each of the parties was forced to make concessions to reach an agreement. The two carriers, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, did so independently, determining what is in each of their interests separately. The negotiations between the two communities forced each carrier to respond, individually, to a host of options, which ultimately were included, as part of the agreement dated July 11, 2006.

      (10) Nothing in the agreement dated July 11, 2006, is intended to eliminate the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration with respect to the aviation safety and security responsibilities of those agencies.

SEC. 2. MODIFICATION OF PROVISIONS REGARDING FLIGHTS TO AND FROM LOVE FIELD, TEXAS.

    (a) EXPANDED SERVICE- Section 29(c) of the International Air Transportation Competition Act of 1979 is amended by striking `carrier, if (1)' and all that follows and inserting `carrier. Air carriers and, with regard to foreign air transportation, foreign air carriers, may offer for sale and provide through service and ticketing to or from Love Field, Texas, and any domestic or foreign destination through any point within Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, or Alabama.'.

    (b) REPEAL- Section 29 of the International Air Transportation Competition Act of 1979 (Public Law 96-192; 94 Stat. 48 et seq.) is repealed on the date that is 8 years after the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 3. TREATMENT OF INTERNATIONAL NON-STOP FLIGHTS TO AND FROM LOVE FIELD, TEXAS.

    No person may provide, or offer to provide, air transportation of passengers for compensation or hire between Love Field, Texas, and any point or points outside the 50 States or the District of Columbia on a non-stop basis, and no officer or employee of the United States Government may take any action to make or designate Love Field, Texas, an initial point of entry into the United States or a last point of departure from the United States.

SEC. 4. CHARTER FLIGHTS AT LOVE FIELD, TEXAS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Charter flights (as defined in section 212.1 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations) at Love Field, Texas, shall be limited to destinations within the 50 States and the District of Columbia and shall be limited to no more than 10 per month per air carrier for charter flights beyond Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, or Alabama.

    (b) CARRIERS THAT LEASE GATES- Except for a flight operated by a Federal agency or by an air carrier under contract to a Federal agency or in extraordinary circumstances or irregular operations, all flights operated by air carriers that lease terminal gate space at Love Field, Texas, shall depart from and arrive at one of those leased gates.

    (c) CARRIERS THAT DO NOT LEASE GATES- A charter flight operated by an air carrier that does not lease terminal space at Love Field, Texas, may operate from non-terminal facilities or one of the terminal gates.

SEC. 5. AGREEMENT OF THE PARTIES.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subsection (b), any action taken by the City of Dallas, the City of Fort Worth, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, or the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Board (referred to in this section as the `parties') that is reasonably necessary to implement the provisions of the agreement dated July 11, 2006, and titled `Contract among the City of Dallas, the City of Fort Worth, Southwest Airlines Co., American Airlines, Inc., and DFW International Airport Board Incorporating the Substance of the Terms of the June 15, 2006 Joint Statement Between the Parties To Resolve the `Wright Amendment' Issues', and such agreement, shall be deemed to comply in all respects with the parties' obligations under title 49, United States Code, and any other competition laws.

    (b) LIMITATIONS ON STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION- Nothing in this section shall be construed--

      (1) to limit the obligations of the parties under the existing programs of the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration relating to aviation safety, labor, environmental, national historic preservation, civil rights, small business concerns (including disadvantaged business enterprise), veteran's preference, and disability access;

      (2) to limit the obligations of the parties under the existing aviation security programs of the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration at Love Field, Texas; or

      (3) to authorize the parties to offer marketing incentives that are in violation of Federal law, rules, orders, agreements, and other requirements.

    (c) LOVE FIELD GATES- The number of gates available for passenger air service at Love Field, Texas, shall be reduced, as soon as practicable, to no more than 20 gates, and thereafter shall not exceed a maximum of 20 gates.

    (d) GENERAL AVIATION- Nothing in the agreement described in subsection (a) shall affect general aviation service at Love Field, Texas, including flights to or from Love Field by general aviation aircraft for air taxi service, private or sport flying, aerial photography, crop dusting, corporate aviation, medical evacuation, flight training, police or fire fighting, and similar general aviation purposes, or by aircraft operated by any Federal agency or by any airline under contract to any Federal agency.

    (e) ENFORCEMENT- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Transportation and the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration are prohibited from making findings or determinations, promulgating orders or rules, withholding airport improvement grants or approvals thereof, denying passenger facility charge applications, or taking any other action either self-initiated or on behalf of third parties, that is inconsistent with the provisions of the agreement described in subsection (a), or that challenge the legality of any of its provisions.

SEC. 6. JURISDICTION.

    The Department of Transportation shall have exclusive jurisdiction with respect to the agreement described in section 5(a) of this Act.

SEC. 7. APPLICABILITY.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The provisions of this Act shall apply only to actions taken with respect to Love Field, Texas, or air transportation to or from Love Field, Texas, under the agreement described in section 5(a) of this Act and shall have no application to any other airport.

    (b) SAFETY REVIEW- The provisions of this Act shall not take effect if, within 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration determines and notifies Congress that aviation operations in the airspace serving Love Field, Texas, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area that will be facilitated by the agreement described in section 5(a) and by this Act, cannot be accommodated in compliance with FAA safety standards in accordance with section 40101 of title 49, United States Code.

Calendar No. 563

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3661

[Report No. 109-317]

A BILL

To amend section 29 of the International Air Transportation Competition Act of 1979 relating to air transportation to and from Love Field, Texas.


August 1, 2006

Reported with an amendment