Here at Top-Notch Taxi – DFW DAL Airport Service, we transport to and from both Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Dallas Love Field (DAL). While you might know a fair bit about DFW, DAL is a bit of a mystery even to the locals. Here are some things you might not know about Dallas Love Field.
Dallas Love Field was originally a pilot training camp for the Army Air Service in 1917. It was named “Love Field” in October of that year, after First Lieutenant Moss Lee Love.
Lt. Love had a long military career, beginning in December 1910. After serving in several cavalry units, Lt. Love was ordered to go to San Diego and train to be a pilot at the Signal Corps Aviation School. In September 1913, the plane he was training in crashed, and Lt. Love became the tenth army aviation casualty.
So, when the army took over the field in 1917, they named it in tribute to Lt. Love. The army continued to use it as a training field for pilots and other aviation staff until December 1919.
After many years as a storage facility, Love Field was purchased by the city of Dallas in 1928 and opened to civilian use. Delta Airlines (then called Delta Air Service) became the first passenger airline to use Dallas Love Field, followed swiftly by Braniff Airways (which is no longer in operation).
World War II and Further Development
In 1932, Dallas Love Field paved its first runways. Braniff started offering night schedules in 1935.
During World War II, Dallas Love again became a training center and Air Transport Command unit for the United States Air Force. The facilities specifically built for use by the air force were closed at the end of the war.
In 1940, the Lemmon Avenue Terminal was opened and dedicated, offering more room for passenger flights. Delta and Braniff began to provide more flights to areas that were previously unreachable from Dallas.
In 1947, Pioneer Air Lines joined the available flight options, followed by Central Airlines in 1949.
A third terminal was added in 1958. This terminal was home to the world’s first moving walkways, an important distinction. More airlines joined with Love Field after this terminal was created, including Continental, American, Pan Am, and Trans Texas.
Love Field offered its first turbine-powered flights in April 1959 and its first jet airline flights in July 1959.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Opens
Through 1970, new terminals and hangers were being built and opened all over Love Field, increasing traffic and adding a great number of flights.
In 1968, the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth moved most flights to the new regional airport, DFW. However, some airlines offering intrastate services remained at Love Field, including Southwest Airlines. But even with most air carriers moving to DFW, Love Field continued to grow and build new terminals.
Love Field’s relationship with Southwest Airlines persisted even through a lawsuit by the Cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, in which they were granted the right to remain in 1973. During this year, service at Love Field peaked to its all-time high.
But that would be short lived. In 1974, DFW opened for business. Love Field shortly reported its all-time lowest numbers in 1975 and was forced to decommission several routes.
In 1979, things took a turn for the better. Congress passed an amendment that allowed air carrier service between Love Field and points within the states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. This allowed 10 charters per month and commuter airlines to offer flights with 56 passengers or less.
From the late 1970s through the early 2000s, Love Field was constantly challenged by the city of Dallas for its right to continue air service. The opening of DFW and other area airports led to several legal disputes, including noise ordinances and regional flights.
In 2001, the sobering events of September 11th led to many airports discontinuing service from Dallas Love Field because the demand for regional flights steeply declined. By 2003, only Continental and Southwest remained to provide service to Dallas Love Field.
However, 2002 marked the 85th anniversary of the airport’s opening. In 2003, it was designated as a Texas State Historical Site.
The Wright Amendment
The Wright Amendment, which was part of Love Field’s legal troubles since 1979, was partially repealed in 2006. This meant that carriers could again offer one-stop flights from Dallas Love Field, though the number of gates the airport could have was restricted to 20. Though this was done in the spirit of competition, it was a victory for Dallas Love Field.
In 2014, the Wright Amendment fully expired, which allowed any airline to fly nonstop flights from Love Field to any city in America.
Today, there are several smaller airlines that operate out of Dallas Love Field, though Southwest, Delta, and Alaskan Airlines continue major service to a variety of destinations. Charter flights and FBOs also fly out of Dallas Love Field.