Enough is enough

Legend Airlines accuses Fort Worth of discrimination and demands that feds cut funds

Kent Krause, a Dallas-based lawyer and aviation expert, says he thinks Legend's latest move "is a good one--if it works." If DOT rules against Fort Worth, which experts say may take only a matter or months, it may force the whole legal issue into federal court, which is where Legend and the city of Dallas wanted to fight the battle all along.

Faberman says that even if Fort Worth prevails in proving that local rule governs in matters of interstate commerce--which is unlikely, says Krause--Legend's complaint will have that much more fuel. "Dallas would then have the most arbitrary and restrictive ruling in the country limiting operations at an airport not on the issues of noise or safety, but competition," says Faberman. "That itself is arbitrary and inconsistent with the agreement Fort Worth pledged to uphold when taking federal funds."

The complaint also alleges that Fort Worth has sought to destroy Legend to protect American Airlines' relative monopoly at DFW Airport.

In a similar case, DOT recently decided to withhold federal funds from a small airport in Denver after the airport's municipal board refused to allow scheduled passenger flights. For the last several years, a Texas-based entrepreneur had tried to launch passenger service at Centennial Airport in Arapahoe County, which is reserved for charters and private planes. When the airport's ruling body refused to let Centennial Express fly, DOT found that it violated the federal regulation that prohibits discrimination against certain types of air service. That decision, which is on appeal, could cost Centennial Airport $1 million in federal funds this year alone.

The Colorado decision, which came down in late August, gives McArtor hope. Legend's latest move, he says, is one more weapon in his battle to prevent crib death.

"Even Wyatt Earp had a knife and a gun," he says.

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