(DES MOINES) – The Office of Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today learned that Southwest Airlines will begin flights from Des Moines on September 30, 2012.
Upon hearing the news, Gov. Branstad said, “This is great news for Iowa as Southwest has had a track record of increasing ridership, reducing fares and providing great competition. I believe this will be a very positive development for air travelers and should be a significant benefit for our economic development efforts.”
Below you will find the press release distributed by Southwest Airlines:
DALLAS—April 2, 2012—Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) and its wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways announced today revisions to upcoming summer and fall flight schedules that will provide the opportunity for Southwest Airlines to begin service to Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) and Dayton International Airport (DAY) beginning Aug.12, 2012. Southwest’s schedule in Akron-Canton will offer two daily roundtrip flights to Southwest’s sizable operation at Chicago Midway and also Denver, with one daily roundtrip flight. Likewise, the airline will begin service to Dayton with one daily flight to Denver. Southwest’s service in both markets will complement AirTran’s existing service in these cities. AirTran’s service will continue, and the airlines will jointly determine the best time to convert all AirTran’s flying to Southwest.
Southwest Airlines also announced it will transition AirTran’s operation in Des Moines International Airport (DSM) to a Southwest operation with Southwest assuming all flying at the airport. Beginning Sept. 30, 2012, Southwest will operate two roundtrip flights between Des Moines and Chicago Midway.
Southwest Airlines chose to begin service to CAK, DSM, and DAY to allow these markets to realize the benefits of the Southwest network, connecting them to large Southwest operations such as Chicago Midway and Denver.
“Southwest Airlines is thrilled to begin service to three markets that have for years desired to see canyon blue planes touch down on their runways,” said Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer and AirTran Airways President Bob Jordan. “Southwest will continue to serve these markets with exceptional Customer Service at a great value, with access to the broad Southwest network of destinations.”
In January, Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways confirmed plans for Southwest to continue operations at 22 AirTran markets where Southwest Airlines does not currently operate. In addition to DAY, CAK, and DSM, the markets that will eventually join the Southwest route map include: Flint, Mich. (FNT); Rochester, N.Y. (ROC); Pensacola, Fla. (PNS); Charlotte, N.C. (CLT); Richmond, Va. (RIC); Key West, Fla. (EYW); Washington, D.C. (DCA); Memphis, Tenn. (MEM); Wichita, Kan. (ICT); Branson, Mo. (BKG); Portland, Maine (PWM); Grand Rapids, Mich. (GRR); Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ); Cancun, Mexico (CUN); Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ); Aruba (AUA); San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU); Bermuda (BDA); and Nassau, Bahamas (NAS). The airline will continue to make announcements over the next several years as it solidifies plans for these additional cities subject to labor negotiations.
Additionally, Southwest Airlines announced today it will begin new seasonal flying between St. Louis and Panama City Beach as well as between Portland, Ore., and Austin with one daily roundtrip each beginning June 3, 2012. Effective the same day, the airline also will add an additional seasonal roundtrip each on routes between Boston and St. Louis and between Dallas and Austin. Finally, AirTran’s new schedule includes additional frequencies out of Atlanta to markets such as Baltimore/Washington, Houston Hobby, Chicago Midway, Denver, and Los Angeles.
Southwest and AirTran are making the changes to continue aligning the two networks following Southwest’s acquisition of AirTran in May 2011. The airline saw opportunities throughout the summer schedule to utilize aircraft time and make adjustments to both flight schedules. To read more about the schedule updates, please visit www.blogsouthwest.com