November 19, 2012

Southwest Airlines Begins Service June 2

Date:  November 19, 2012

The long-awaited, much-anticipated announcement has finally arrived.  At a press conference today in Wichita, Southwest Airlines announced that the airline will start service at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport on June 2, 2013.  Southwest’s initial service will be with flights to three markets:

2 daily flights to Dallas Love Field

2 daily flights to Chicago Midway

1 daily flight to Las Vegas

Southwest service at Wichita means more flight options to and from Kansas, and access to Southwest’s network throughout the U.S.  All three of these nonstop destinations are among Southwest’s top markets served – Chicago is the largest Southwest market with 231 daily departures, Las Vegas is the second busiest with 219 flights, and Dallas has 124 departures.

Southwest Airlines is the largest domestic carrier in the U.S.  It operates more than 3,400 flights a day, and AirTran Airways, its wholly-owned subsidiary, operates nearly 700 flights a day.  Southwest and AirTran serve 97 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and six near-international countries.

The Dallas and Chicago routes will be served with the 143-seat, Boeing 737-700 aircraft with New Evolve Interior. The Las Vegas route will be served with the 137-seat, B737-300 aircraft

Southwest Airlines is known for their dependable service and satisfied customers.  Southwest consistently receives the lowest ratio of passenger complaints of all Major U.S. carriers.

Southwest is also known for its partnership with the communities it serves, with charitable giving, volunteerism, and community outreach activities.

“Attracting Southwest Airlines is a major coup for Wichita.  It means a huge economic boost not only to Wichita but to the State of Kansas.  Southwest will make it easier for visitors to come to Kansas through Wichita, which means more dollars spent on rental cars, hotels, shopping, and dining.  It also means greater opportunity to attract conventions and increase tourism, and is an attractive incentive for companies considering locating in our region,” said Mayor Carl Brewer.

Wichita has been courting Southwest Airlines for about 30 years, but federal law prevented the airline from serving Wichita out of its home airport at Dallas Love Field until 1997 when flights to Kansas were permitted.  Significant and repeated efforts to attract Southwest continued until the airline purchased AirTran Airways last year, which gave Southwest an opportunity to assimilate the existing AirTran operation in Wichita into the Southwest network.

“We’ve worked long and hard to bring Southwest to Wichita, and we are convinced that this initial service is just a start to bigger and better things in the future from Southwest,” said Victor White, Director of Airports.

Southwest does not charge bag fees on the first two bags, nor does it charge a fee if you need to change your reservation.  Start booking your flights now at www.southwest.com.

You are now free to move about the country.

Media Contacts

Valerie Wise

Air Service & Business Development Manager

(316) 946-4780

Brad Christopher

Assistant Director of Airports

(316) 946-4700

Victor White

Director of Airports

(316) 946-4700

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