House Panel Strips Antitrust Protections From Lifting Restrictions on Flights From Dallas

A House panel stripped antitrust protections from a bill that would lift restrictions on long-haul flights out of Dallas Love Field before moving the legislation forward Wednesday.

The House Judiciary Committee, after brief debate, pushed through a bill modeled after an agreement that would eventually repeal the Wright Amendment and eliminate some terminals at Dallas Love Field.

The agreement was hammered out between Love-based Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth.

The bill moved forward Wednesday no longer includes wording that shielded the deal from any anti-competition legal challenges, language that was opposed by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

An unsigned memo from the Justice Department's antitrust division said the bill would violate antitrust laws, although the department has not taken an official position.