Southwest Airline officials announced on Monday that the low-cost airline will start service at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport on June 2, 2013. Southwest’s initial service will offer flights to Dallas Love Field (two flights daily), Chicago Midway (two flights daily and Las Vegas (one flight daily).
Joining Southwest officials at the news conference, held at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, were Gov. Brownback, Mayor Carl Brewer and other local dignitaries. Southwest Airlines is the nation’s largest domestic carrier, operating more than 3,400 flights a day; 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.
“Attracting Southwest Airlines means a huge economic boost not only to Wichita but to the State of Kansas,” Mayor Brewer said. “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 means greater opportunity to attract conventions, improve tourism and recruit companies to our region.”
Southwest service at Wichita means more flight options to and from Kansas, and access to Southwest’s network throughout the country. The three initial, 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.
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 does not charge bag fees on the first two bags, nor does it charge a fee if fliers change their reservation. Travelers can book flights at www.southwest.com. Southwest Airlines is known for dependable service and satisfied customers. It 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.
Wichita has been courting Southwest Airlines for decades 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 collaborated with City of Wichita partners to attract Southwest to Wichita,” Victor White, Director of Airports, said. “This initial service is a start to bigger and better things in the future from Southwest.”