Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) plans to add 20 flights to 12 new nonstop destinations if the airline is able to acquire two additional gates at Dallas Love Field. Southwest would add nonstop service to:
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.
San Francisco, Calif.
These 12 new nonstop destinations would be added to Southwest's schedule if the airline is able to obtain the rights to two Love Field gates that American Airlines must relinquish under the terms of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. These destinations would be in addition to the 15 cities that Southwest previously announced it would serve from Love Field beginning later this year, and five new nonstop destinations currently planned for service in 2015 that Southwest announces today:
Boston, Mass. (Boston Logan)
Panama City Beach, Fla.
San Jose, Calif.
"Southwest has provided North Texas with convenient, award winning service from Dallas Love Field for 43 years," said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines' Chairman, President, and CEO. "We are proud of our commitment to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. No other airline can offer the low fares, variety of destinations, and Customer Service that Southwest is committed to providing at Love Field."
With the upcoming sunset of the Wright Amendment restrictions on long-haul flights from Love Field, demand for Southwest nonstop service from the airport far exceeds the Company's current gate capacity. Access to two additional gates would allow Southwest to provide North Texas residents and visitors with the benefits of new nonstop flights to 12 additional destinations that would not otherwise be possible – a BIG win for consumers, businesses and the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
The Campbell-Hill Aviation Group recently completed a study quantifying the economic benefits of Southwest service on two additional gates at Love Field. Key points from the Campbell-Hill study show that Southwest's proposed service would:
Reduce airfares nearly $100 per roundtrip in the 12 new Love Field markets
Produce more than $210 million in fare savings annually to Dallas residents and visitors
Result in 1.4 million additional passengers per year flying to and from Dallas
Attract 350,000 new visitors to the Dallas area annually – visitors who will spend money in the local economy generating over 4,700 new jobs, $214 million in annual earnings to local workers, and $559 million in local sales per year.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is a single aviation market that is served by two airports, DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field. In total, these airports have 175 gates (155 at DFW and 20 at Love Field). If Southwest were to acquire the two additional Love Field gates, its percentage of gates in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market would remain very small, around 10 percent. Importantly, other carriers, such as Virgin America and Delta Air Lines, already have a presence at DFW International Airport and can easily expand at DFW's ample gate facilities. In contrast, Southwest's growth in North Texas can occur only at Love Field under the terms of the five-party agreement that resulted in the end of the Wright Amendment.
"More service in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area will bring more opportunity for all North Texas consumers," said Kelly. "Southwest's proposal to acquire the two gates is the only option that allows all three carriers to actually grow in this market, which increases competition and provides additional travel choices at lower fares. Furthermore, as a Texas company headquartered in Dallas, more growth for Southwest means more local jobs, higher tax payments to the City of Dallas, and more economic development for the entire region."
ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. In its 43rd year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by nearly 45,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded and operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 96 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five near-international countries via wholly owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways. Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line approach that takes into account the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2012 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at southwest.com/citizenship.
From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as "The Southwest Effect," a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic wherever the carrier serves. With Southwest Airlines, Bags Fly Free ® (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply), and there are no change fees when you need to change your flight. Southwest's fleet offers leather seating and the comfort of full-size cabins, a majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity over the United States, which enables live and video-on-demand TV currently FREE compliments of DISH, and a new, sustainable cabin interior. Southwest acquired AirTran Airways in May 2011 and by the end of 2014 intends to complete the full integration of the AirTran network into Southwest. With 41 consecutive years of profitability, the People of Southwest and AirTran operate more than 3,600 flights a day. Southwest Airlines' frequent flights and low fares are available online at southwest.com or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.