Thursday, June 30, 2022 Jun 30, 2022
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Business

How Dallas-Fort Worth Lured American Airlines to Town, and What It’s Meant to the Region Since

By Jason Heid |

Seeing that Businessweek quoted Ray Hutchison about how “very, very disappointing and sad” is the American Airlines bankruptcy reminded me of the story that the Vinson & Elkins lawyer (and husband of U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison) told us for our 35 Biggest Moments in Modern Dallas History issue last year about an attempt to prevent the air carrier from moving its corporate headquarters in 1979:

It was essential to the move that tax-exempt DFW Airport revenue bonds be issued to finance the costs of a new national corporate headquarters for American. Though such financings had been closed at airports all across the country, suddenly, the IRS, behind the scenes, prepared a proposed ruling that would have declared retroactively that bonds issued for the offices of an airline would not be tax exempt. It quickly became obvious that New York had put its political clout to work in the Congress in Washington and in the IRS, and that all political muscle had been flexed to stop American from moving its headquarters.

North Texas leaders won that fight. You can read Hutchison’s whole article (scroll down the page a bit, or read Jim Wright’s account of the birth of the Wright Amendment too) as a reminder of what American has meant to the region.