Airlines fight over Big D: Virgin America joins contest for gates at close-in Dallas airport

DALLAS – Virgin America wants two gates at Dallas Love Field that American Airlines is giving up.

Wednesday’s announcement pits Virgin against bigger rivals Southwest Airlines Co. and Delta Air Lines Inc.

Virgin, part-owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, says it can increase low-fare competition at close-in Love Field. It would leave nearby Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and fly from Dallas to New York, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

Southwest has 16 gates at Love Field. It says getting two more would let it add 20 daily flights to new cities.

Delta, which flies to Atlanta from Love Field, says it can add routes and boost competition with the gates — and adds that there’s enough room for all three interested airlines.

American agreed to give up the gates to settle a government lawsuit against its merger with US Airways.