Virgin CEO Richard Branson Visiting Dallas to Lobby for Love Field Gates

RichardBransonFlickrCynthiaSmoot.JPG
Cynthia Smoot
Eccentric British billionaire Richard Branson's last visit to North Texas -- in 2010, to launch Virgin America's service from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport -- he brought along an absurd cowboy getup, barbecue, and a small herd of longhorn cattle.

This time, God-willing, his arrival should be much more low-key. The Dallas Morning News reported over the weekend that Branson will "be the host of a private Dallas event Monday evening, then will be meeting with people Tuesday."

The reason for his visit is the ongoing intrigue over who should get the two Love Field gates American Airlines is being forced to surrender by the Justice Department.

See also: Dallas Isn't So Sure It Wants to Let Virgin America Fly Out of Love Field

Virgin began booking flights out of Love Field late last month after reaching a Justice-approved agreement with American.

That probably should have been the end of it, but the city of Dallas went to bat for its politically-connected hometown airline and commissioned a study concluding that Southwest Airlines, which already controls 16 of Love Field's 20 gates, offered the best option.

The full City Council is set to be briefed on the topic on Wednesday.

In advance of the meeting, Virgin America has launched a "Free Love Field" petition ("There's more than enough LOVE to go around") all but promising 30 percent lower fares.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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93 comments
mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

The issue has been settled.

DofJ has sent a letter to the City of Dallas stating "we have concluded that divestiture to Virgin America, which has no existing presence at Love Field and will introduce a new competitor at that airport, accomplishes the goal of the Final Judgment. The other two proposed acquirers do not."

Virgin America will get the 2 gates.

don.abbott
don.abbott

IF Southwest gets the gates, Love Field will become the aviation version of valet parking.  Wanna close spot (airport)?  Show some Love, as in Benjamins.  How ironic that us poor saps that have waited this long will be going back to DFW for better deals if the pig gets all the trough.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Isn't the reason AA has to give up the gates some sort of anti-trust thing?  So how does giving SW a virtual monopoly on gates at Love foster competition?  Sometimes the way our council's mind works is the Lord's own mystery.

wcvemail
wcvemail

The worst thing I can say about Brits, even more than the bar bills I rang up trying to keep up with them, is that they cannot wear a Western hat. Ref: Michael Caine in "Second-Hand Lions," a fine performance in a fine movie by a fine actor, but he looked ridi---err, out of place in that fine hat. Now the Aussies know a thing or two about brims, as with the Akubra brand. But the Limeys? Shoulda quit while they were ahead (heh) with the bowler. At least Sir Richard knows how to lift a hat in this picture.

casiepierce
casiepierce

I don't understand. How does the city council get a say in these two gates? Is it just because they own the airport? And if so, would not the Feds involve themselves in that decision?

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

The rich white trash that run this town have no idea who this guy is. And I use the term "white trash" as a metaphor large enough to include those darker than white.

JackJett
JackJett

Mr. Branson is a witty and clever entrepreneur and Dallas should feel lucky to have his insightful support in whatever way we can.   So much better than the opening of another downtown Baptist church owned and operated by a closet drag queen.   

WylieH
WylieH

I got my mind set on you

I got my mind set on you

I got my mind set on you

I got my mind set on you

But it's gonna take money

A whole lotta spending money

It's gonne take plenty of money

To do it right child

It's gonna take time

A whole lot of precious time

It's gonna take patience and time, ummm

To do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it,

To do it right child

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Well Yippee Yi-O ty-YEA baby.

Institute an AP Stylebook spell change to Cowboi, and voila! WE have achieved Chicagoness. 

First order of business is to kill all the LObbyists.

More sinister than the advent of corn syrup, 

lebowski300
lebowski300

@mavdog  But the City of Dallas doesn't have to listen to the DoJ? That's just a hatin' organization, unfamiliar with how we do things in these parts.


mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@don.abbott

Why are you of the opinion that the airlines who fly in and out of DFW do not compete with Southwest? They do.

I always compare the fares from airlines who fly out of either. Doesn't really make much difference which airport I use, maybe 10 minutes more to go to and from DFW...

I expect SWA does keep up with the other airlines' fares.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@RTGolden1 Justice Department decision, not city council.  And Eric Holder and bunch make Caroline Davis look like Barbara Jordan...

wcvemail
wcvemail

Speaking of hats, I just noticed -- the flight attendant/stew on the right has her hat on backward. (rounded part of crown is facing us, hat dimples are facing back.) 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@wcvemail

One think I'm quite impressed by is the Brit actor ability in mimicking American accents, House comes to mind. I'm always surprised when an actor I thought was American turns out to be Brit.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@casiepierce

The City of Dallas is the Landlord, they own the facility.

AA  ia a Tenant, wants to assign their Lease of the 2 gates in question.

The Tenant (AA) can Assign with the approval of Landlord, such approval not to be unreasonably withheld (or so we are told).

Feds have said OK to everyone asking to use the gates but Delta.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@casiepierce  
Apparently, the council has no voice except for that of PR and unknown but minor influence on the FAA. The train is leaving the station, and the council is huffing and puffing trying to get a piece of the action, but they haven't even been able to have the public meetings to arrange the closed-door meetings to talk about equity.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@JackJett   Check out this headline:


"Anti-gay North Carolina Republican candidate Steve Wiles, worked as drag queen at gay bar."


Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@holmantx  What's the stereotype Texans have for the English?


"Hip hip, old bean, tally-ho! What what..."

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@lebowski300

Greg Abbott will be filing his lawsuit in the morning....after all,  "I go into the office, I sue the federal government and I go home"

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@PlanoDave @RTGolden1Yeah, I got that Justice made AA give up the gates.  My question is why the council thinks that their preferred monopoly will be acceptable to Justice.  And is it correct that the FAA actually has the 'yes' vote for who gets the gates anyway?

wcvemail
wcvemail

@TheRuddSki  
The late, great Bob Hoskins playing a slang-slinging private eye in "Toon," Sir Anthony Hopkins playing Nixon (eerily well), Gary Oldman in anything...good point.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  

They also have better war correspondents.  Ours are too chickenshit to embed.

And, generally, they don't mind reporting on the President and his administration.  Most often, you have to look to the Brit tabloids to get the latest on Benghazi, unlawful IRS scheme targeting conservative and Tea Party groups, the NSA scandal, Obamacare — A massive and incredibly convoluted bill which exponentially increases the federal government’s control over our personal lives…which neither Obama nor a single Democrat even read before passing, and which will likely bankrupt the nation.

An intentional refusal to enforce federal immigration laws.

Operation Fast & Furious

Increased the percentage of Americans dependent on food stamps to unprecedented levels

Militarily intervened in Libya in 2011 without the Congressional approval required by the War Powers Act

Using taxpayer dollars to bail out the private pension funds of autoworkers’ unions at GM & Chrysler.

Illegally ending the welfare-to-work requirements passed by Congress.

Doling out $800 billion in stimulus cash for “shovel-ready” jobs that didn't exist

Stopped American oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, allowing other nations with worse environmental records to drill instead

Am I being too hard?


wcvemail
wcvemail

@mavdog @casiepierce  
There you have it, Casie. So council DOES get to huff and puff and make suitors do animal tricks -- you know, pony up.

JackJett
JackJett

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz The story gets better.  He was knows as Miss Mona Sinclair.  He also worked for the Miss Gay America competition, but was suspended for “conduct unbecoming to a promoter”.


How much glitter does a Queen have to shit in order to get 86'd from "Miss Gay America"?  But just for the record, he proclaims that he is NOT GAY.  


So not only did he pray his gay away, he also prayed away his inner Miss Mona.  So don't be influenced by this and attempt to pray away your Miss Myrna. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

The stereotype used to be room-temperature beer and bland food which is stacked high on the backside of the fork.

Now, it's Allah Akbar.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@markzero

SWA is a Tenant to the City, they lease the gates they operate out of. The 2 gates in question are leased to AA. The City owns Love Field.

Southwest ponied up $ for the renovation by way of an agreement with the City and extension of their Lease, that agreement did not grant Southwest any additional rights to the facility (as far as what was disclosed).

markzero
markzero

@mavdog  I'm confused. Doesn't SWA have some kind of tenant relationship with Love Field? If so, did they have any agreement in place as to rights conferred by the improvements they made?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheRuddSki

odd you would assume I am "against SW having competition at Love because they paid for renovation". What I have done above is state the position of SWA on the investment they made, and correctly pointed out  that Virgin has made zero investment in the facility.

What is "fair and best for the consumer"? You make the statement as if it is a fact having Virgin at Love would benefit the consumer. How? You make the claim, show how it is accurate.

There is competition already in place. Virgin currently operates flights any local traveller can buy a ticket for.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mavdog

Ok, so you're against SW having competition at Love because they paid for renovation. That's ok, you're focusing on SW's interests, not the consumers out of a sense of what's fair and best for them.

Were I a consumer, I'd selfishly want competition.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheRuddSki

Competition exists with or without Virgin being provided the gates at Love. Virgin already serves the area out of DFW.

the City of Dallas invested the 25%.

Virgin is looking to get the rewards without the investment other have made.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mavdig

I understand that Southwest got what they paid for statistically, and that competition can at times be beneficial to the consumer, am I missing something?

Who paid for the other 25%?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheRuddSki

The gates existed. the investment was to modernize the facility.

did Virgin America pony up any money to modernize Love Field? What? they didn't put in anything?

did you understand the point this time?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mavdog

Southwest paid about 75% of that cost...

And SW will have control of 80% of the available gates.

What was your point again?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @PlanoDave

also, an interesting item to remember: the Love Field renovation was completed at a cost of about $520 Million.

Southwest paid about 75% of that cost, or close to $400 Million.

I'm sure that Southwest feels it should get priority consideration for the gate after making that amount of contribution...

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @PlanoDave

DoJ only ruled Delta out of the operators. The court brief they filed stated to replace one legacy, dominant carrier (AA) with another dominant, legacy carrier (Delta) would fail to reach the objective of forcing AA to divest the gates (bring in a low cost operator). DoJ is apparently OK with either SWA or VAA.

FAA does not have any input in the decision of who operates, as long as the carrier is an approved co. they can use the gates.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@wcvemail

The first flick I saw the late Hoskins in was a Roger Rabbit. It wasn't until much later that I found he was Brit.

And now, I'm told Gary Oldman is Brit. Didn't know that. I must be hopelessly out of touch

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@holmantx

Am I being too hard?

Not at all for an ultra conservative blog. On a lib blog, you might be racist, or FOX!!!

When R's take the Senate, things might get exciting.

Althouse went to town on the NYT editorial today, pretty funny - but the cracks are starting to show.

Taken as a whole and stripped as much as possible of ideological blinkers, Mr. Obama’s record on foreign policy is not as bad as his critics say. It’s just not good enough.

It begins...

JackJett
JackJett

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Of course you now you will always be Miss Mryna to be from no on.  I wanted to call you Miss Pussy Galore from one of my favorite strippers of all time but you can become catatonic from all the feline one liners. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Guuuuuuuurl!  Miss Myrna's thinking about walking at the next Ball.

JackJett
JackJett

@gavin.cleaver They kept me on the road and in employment with  the pop princess of the day.  That and the ability to roll pinners and to always agree it was the hotel staff that ripped off her jewelry even though I knew it would be found in her baggage.  These are skills that they failed to teach at Grand Prairie High School, Home of the Fighting Gophers.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@JackJett

That's not a very well-constructed flame, but tdkiosk is probably so thrilled to get his first positive response ever, it doesn't really matter.

JackJett
JackJett

@gavin.cleaver  Are you talking about the privatization of the National Honor Society from High School?  Back then I was a simple libtard moron Gopher from Grand Prairie High and thus never had a chance.  


Seriously, I am not sure what the NHS is, however I do know where to score the best blow near the Halcyon Hotel at 3am. 

JackJett
JackJett

@gavin.cleaver @TheRuddSki ginger bits.....Either a great name for a band...The Ginger Bits, or a stripper Ginger Bits or a Republican draq queen from NC named Miss Ginger Lee Bitz.  

JackJett
JackJett

@tdkisok It was my understanding he is in a nursing home which would  not allow bics , no matter how small his bic might be.   I think they only give those our during crafts. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@tdkisok

The only flame you know about is your bic

I don't smoke, but if I did, I'd use a Zippo.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@gavin.cleaver

Well, we have Sea World as an attraction. At least the royals don't abuse Orcas.

gavin.cleaver
gavin.cleaver moderator

@TheRuddSki  No, agreed. They're just not important enough to worry about these days. A complete irrelevancy. And they keep telling us how it only costs everyone in the UK $1 per year to maintain the Royal Family, or something like that. Mainly due to all the land they obtained by virtue of being royal, and the income on that. So it's not a huge expense, and it undoubtedly draws in the tourist dollars. I just find the whole thing to be tedious, pointless, and a waste of the small amount of cash they cost anyway, which we could bundle up into one novelty-sized check and offer to David Cameron as a bribe to stop privatizing the NHS.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Gavin.cleaver

They are a rather expensive bunch to maintain, but I suppose the tourist draw might partially pay for the quaint custom.

I can't really envision the time when the custom is abandoned, though.

gavin.cleaver
gavin.cleaver moderator

@TheRuddSki  I feel like Americans go a lot crazier for the Royals than the Brits do. I'm unashamedly anti-Royalist. My beard does have some ginger bits in it. I'm told that's the Scottish grandfather's fault.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk

What we really need to know is how excited Gavin is about the royal kid, and is Gavin a ginger?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@MaxNoDifference  Total classic.  Mrs. Slocombe had Mr. Humphries sleep over on the couch.  He pets her cat, cat hisses, Mrs. Slocombe says, "Mr. Humphries!!!  Leave my pussy alone!!!"

gavin.cleaver
gavin.cleaver moderator

@TheRuddSki  "According to the Express" is the least well-researched thing you've ever written. Normally you're much better than that. This is the newspaper that is still pushing the Diana death conspiracy on its front page in 2014.


The "influx of Islamics," which, by the last census in 2011 was a laughably small 6.9%, is a straw man being held up by the right-wing media to distract from the failings of the British economy, and such prejudice has always played well with the jackbooted thugs of the BNP, or in my father's day, the National Front. The bigger worry among the little Englanders is undoubtedly those "barmy bureaucrats in Brussels" to borrow Murdoch's rag (The Sun)'s favorite headline, as can be seen by the sudden worrying rise of UKIP, a party that exists solely to extricate the UK from the largest free-trading bloc in the world.


I emigrated because there are no jobs, and the austerity measures brought in by the furthest-right government since Thatcher have miserably failed to breathe life into the economy. As one of my favorite British bands once sung, "prejudice burns brighter when it's all we have to burn."

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

That was an entertaining show, as was Absolutely Fabulous, Benny Hill, Doc Marten and Keeping Up Appearances. I'm quite a fan of British humor.

But my favorite? Top Gear

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@gavin.cleaver

Er.... Eh? Between the news, family living in Britain, and Brit ex-pat community exchanges, I'm getting the impression that the influx of Islamics is becoming a bit worrisome, along with public drunkeness (which is certainly not a problem in the heavily-Islamic areas, nor are scantly-clad women).

According to the Express, the applications for visas has gone up 80% in the past decade, mostly for Australia, Canada and, oddly enough, South Africa.

Why did you emigrate?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@tdkisok

You tend to lead with your weak chin, lad. You should save the flame until after you indicate that you have reading comprehension problems.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  The Brits had a TV cooking show called, Two Fat Ladies.  Those big gals could whip up a King's dinner, and do it with hilariously withering remarks.  God, I miss that show!

tdkisok
tdkisok

@TheRuddSki  


You head is up your ass .....again.  Allah Akbar is a Texas stereotype? 


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