Not-So-Friendly Skies

City consultant falls hard for Southwest Airlines in Dallas Love Field gate bid

City consultant falls hard for Southwest in Love Field gate bid

Southwest Airlines airplane jet flying
LEK Consulting has a mad crush on Southwest Airlines. Photo by Dylan Ashe/Wikipedia

Although there are three airlines bidding for the open gates at Dallas Love Field, it's clear LEK Consulting only has eyes for one: Southwest.

The City of Dallas hired the firm to evaluate proposals from Delta, Virgin America and Southwest. It seems there isn't much of a competition.

The local airline has the whole girl-next-door vibe going for it; the fact that the U.S. Department of Justice already reached a deal with Virgin American just makes Southwest all the more desirable. LEK wants to hop onboard Southwest's forbidden flight, and the City of Dallas might just go along for the ride, potential lawsuits be damned.

 LEK Consulting wants to hop onboard Southwest's forbidden flight, and the City of Dallas might just go along for the ride.

At a transportation committee briefing on April 28, council members were more than willing to hear LEK's full love letter to Southwest, which came in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.

LEK created a scoring mechanism for each carrier. Lo and behold, Southwest was the runaway winner.

"Southwest certainly has the most attractive of the three proposals," LEK gushed to the committee, citing fleet plans and "potential cannibalization" at DFW International Airport.

"Southwest has the greater potential to drive lower fares," LEK added authoritatively, glossing over some not-so-flattering data about periods of higher ticket prices.

In the spirit of fairness, LEK did give both Delta and Virgin an edge over their sweetie Southwest in one category: potential community impact. Because Southwest is already a major player in the Dallas community, Delta's or Virgin's getting the gates means a new influx of charitable partnerships.

But that's really just a backhanded way of complimenting all the great work Southwest is already doing. "Southwest looks to be the most stable and committed in the long term," LEK said in closing.

After about an hour in closed session with the city attorney, transportation committee members decided to send the issue back to the full City Council for another briefing. Stay tuned to hear how this love story turns out.