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Virgin CEO Richard Branson Visiting Dallas to Lobby for Love Field Gates

Eccentric British billionaire Richard Branson's last visit to North Texas -- in 2010, to launch Virgin America's service from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport -- he brought along an absurd cowboy getup, barbecue, and a small herd of longhorn cattle.

This time, God-willing, his arrival should be much more low-key. The Dallas Morning News reported over the weekend that Branson will "be the host of a private Dallas event Monday evening, then will be meeting with people Tuesday."

The reason for his visit is the ongoing intrigue over who should get the two Love Field gates American Airlines is being forced to surrender by the Justice Department.

See also: Dallas Isn't So Sure It Wants to Let Virgin America Fly Out of Love Field

Virgin began booking flights out of Love Field late last month after reaching a Justice-approved agreement with American.

That probably should have been the end of it, but the city of Dallas went to bat for its politically-connected hometown airline and commissioned a study concluding that Southwest Airlines, which already controls 16 of Love Field's 20 gates, offered the best option.

The full City Council is set to be briefed on the topic on Wednesday.

In advance of the meeting, Virgin America has launched a "Free Love Field" petition ("There's more than enough LOVE to go around") all but promising 30 percent lower fares.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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