Southwest Airlines will begin offering non-stop flights between Baltimore and Dallas in October, the airline said Monday.

Southwest is based in Dallas, and is the largest carrier at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.


A federal law, the Wright amendment, has restricted service out of Dallas Love Field since 1980, limiting direct flights to airports in Texas and in nearby states.

The restrictions will be lifted on Oct. 13. The same day, Southwest will begin non-stop flights from Dallas to BWI, as well as to Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago Midway.

Together with AirTran, which the carrier acquired in May 2011, Southwest serves 70 percent of BWI passengers.

The Wright amendment and its restriction on flights out of Dallas Love Field were meant to protect business at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport. The amendment was introduced in 1979 by Congressman Jim Wright, who represented the Fort Worth area.

Southwest officials have lobbied for the law's repeal for years. The restrictions were partially lifted in 2006, when Southwest began one-stop flights from Dallas to BWI.

The full repeal of the restrictions "signifies a turning point for the Southwest brand not just in Dallas, but from coast-to-coast," said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines president and CEO, in a statement.

"Goodbye, Wright Amendment. Hello, America," he said.

On Nov. 2, Southwest will begin non-stop flights from Dallas to 10 additional airports, including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Southwest is in the process of expanding services at National, having recently won 54 slots at the airport.

Southwest said it will announce schedules and fares for its new Dallas flights in May.