Why Southwest paid $120 million for 2 gates

DALLAS - Southwest Airlines (LUV) is so intent on strengthening its grip over Dallas Love Field that it is paying United Airlines (UAL) $120 million to control two more gates at the airport near downtown.

Southwest disclosed the deal Monday during a hearing on a court fight that will determine whether Delta Air Lines (DAL) can stay at Love Field.

The hearing gave a rare glimpse into the high-stakes dealing that sometimes happens in the airline business as carriers compete for scarce gates and landing rights.

By subleasing United's gates through 2028, Dallas-based Southwest now controls 18 of the airport's 20 gates. Virgin America (VA) has the other two.