Low cost air carrier – Southwest Airlines – is coming to Southwest Florida International Airport – beginning in October. Company officials made the announcement Monday – saying they’ll lay out service and pricing details soon. Fort Myers will be the 6th city in Florida - and 61st in the nation – to open its runways to Southwest. The airline already operates in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach. Lee County Port Authority Executive Director – Robert Ball – says his team has been aggressively courting Southwest for more than a decade…
“We didn’t give up in ‘96 when they opened Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale as their first markets in Florida. We didn’t give up when they chose Orlando as their next city later that same year. We didn’t give up in ’97 when they announced that Jacksonville would be their 50th city…we didn’t even give up in 2001 when they chose West Palm Beach over us.”
Based in Dallas – Southwest has been flying for more than 34 years – and currently operates more than 3,000 flights daily with service to 31 states. Southwest Airlines CEO - Gary Kelly – says the airport’s new terminal complex was the final puzzle piece that lured the airline to RSW.
“The reason that we are starting service now is because of the spectacular state of the art facility that’s going to open next month. When we enter a new market – I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised…we’re going to add flights, fares are going to drop and traffic’s going to increase – and that’s what the U-S Dept of Transportation has coined as the famous Southwest Effect.”
The “southwest effect” refers to a 1993 study showing that after Southwest Airlines enters a new city – fares tend to drop, while demand for travel increases.
Tuesday, 28 June 2005 01:00