The "Swing Vote" on Yesterday's Love Field Vote

Moments ago, Angela Hunt posted to her blog her thoughts on yesterday's Love Field concessions vote -- which, she says, needed to be voted on yesterday rather than dragged on another week, as some council members had wanted during the hours-long debate. The reason: A delay "would not bring greater insight or agreement," writes Hunt. Then, she adds:

Attracting the best mix of retailers and food and beverage vendors requires an open, transparent, and competitive bid process, and the council accomplished that on Wednesday.

Is this resolution perfect? No. There are some who would argue that there should be no "right of first refusal" option for current concessionaires. Others would say the current concessionaires deserve a contract extension for space in the new terminal. But the council's decision balanced what I believe to be the two most important considerations: ensuring a great customer experience in the new terminal when it opens as well as in the old terminal during construction.

Without some incentives to the current concessionaires, the airport might be hard-pressed to find vendors willing to stay in the old terminal space during the construction period, when there will be fewer passengers/customers and a challenging airport configuration. On the other hand, guaranteeing new terminal space to current concessionaires could reduce the breadth of competitive bidding, a process that provides the greatest likelihood of getting the best vendors for Love Field.

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