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.

The 22 most dependable airlines in the world
The 22 most dependable airlines in the world

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.