The repeal of an obscure air travel restriction paved the way for government to circumvent providing just compensation for takings
What was the Wright Amendment?
George Will once characterized the Wright Amendment and the situation at Dallas’s Love Field Airport as the “farcical consequences of the government's 10-thumbed attempt to manage an industry.”
Before Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport (DFW) opened in 1974, the Dallas area was served primarily by Love Field Airport, which still operates today as the main hub of Southwest Airlines. In 1979, then-House Majority Leader Jim Wright (D-TX) represented Forth Worth and Congress passed “Wright Amendment” to the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 to encourage development of DFW. The Wright Amendment restricted Love Field to servicing final destinations only in Texas and four other contiguous states (which was later expanded to eight).
Due to this restriction, most airlines abandoned Love Field for the much larger DFW, but Southwest (which initially only operated short, intrastate flights in Texas) resisted and found creative ways to offer interstate air passenger service in spite of the Wright Amendment. Love Field consisted of its main terminal with 32 gates, as well as a smaller auxiliary terminal, added in 2000, known as the Lemmon Avenue Terminal with 6 gates.