Southwest Airlines Announces Arrival in Philadelphia; Airline Will Announce Flights, Fares Soon
DALLAS, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The airline known for its "LUV" is teaming up with Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, to let Freedom ring in 2004 when Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) lands at Philadelphia International Airport.
The carrier, making the announcement today in Philadelphia with airport and local officials, will arrive in May 2004 and utilize four gates at the airport to bring Philadelphia area residents up to 14 daily flights initially to a variety of short and longhaul destinations. Southwest will begin service with five new aircraft deliveries from Boeing. Flights and fares will be announced later.
"The Freedom to Fly is a fundamental mission of Southwest," said Herb Kelleher, Southwest's Chairman, making the announcement with Philadelphia Mayor Honorable John Street and City of Philadelphia Director of Aviation Charles J. Isdell during a news conference in Philadelphia. "Southwest is well known for stimulating travel demand with its low fares and outstanding Customer Service, and we look forward to introducing the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area to our warm hospitality."
Southwest's breadth of service stretches from coast to coast and border to border with more than 2,800 daily departures serving 58 cities in 30 states. Philadelphia will become Southwest's 59th city and Pennsylvania its 31st state.
"Southwest's brand of service will revolutionize air travel in the greater Philadelphia area," Street said. "It is an exciting day in Pennsylvania when we can announce that Southwest is coming to town."
"We're pleased that our infrastructure and airport operating costs were attractive to Southwest," Isdell said. "Southwest's growth has been closely monitored for years, and we know Philadelphia area travelers will respond to the airline's breadth of service and low fares."
When Southwest enters a new city, fares drop dramatically and demand for travel increases. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in a 1993 study described the phenomena as the "Southwest Effect." Examples include:
-- Between Providence, R.I., and Baltimore/Washington: Within one year of
the introduction of Southwest's service on this route, with an average
fare reduction of 73 percent, passenger traffic increased by
782 percent (to more than 500,000 passengers per year).
-- Rhode Island's T.F. Green Airport: After Southwest started service in
1996, T.F. Green became the fastest growing airport in the nation, as
overall airport traffic jumped 88 percent during Southwest's first
year of service.
-- Albany, N.Y., International Airport: Between the introduction of
Southwest's service on May 20, 2000, and the end of that year,
passenger boardings increased 22.5 percent to a record 1.44 million.
-- Long Island MacArthur Airport (Islip): In the first full year of
Southwest's service, airport passenger traffic rose 133 percent.
-- Between Hartford, Conn., and Baltimore/Washington: The average one-way
fare was reduced from $146 to $55 and after the first eight months of
Southwest's service on this route, passenger traffic increased from
19,000 to 92,000 passengers per quarter (this route went from being
the 1063th busiest city pair in the nation to 248th).
-- Between Baltimore/Washington and Chicago Midway Airport: When
Southwest began service on this route in September 1993, only
3,530 passengers per quarter paid an average one-way fare of $121.
By the last quarter of 1997, more than 100,000 passengers per quarter
were paying an average one-way fare of only $79 (this route went from
being the 240th busiest city pair in the nation to 43rd).
Southwest's unique brand of Customer Service also will be a departure for Philadelphia area air travelers. The carrier, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) monthly Air Travel Consumer Report, has consistently received the fewest complaints per 100,000 passengers carried of all major U.S. airlines year over year since 1991. The DOT also reports Southwest has maintained the best cumulative baggage handling record and the best cumulative ontime performance of all major U.S. carriers that have been reporting statistics to the DOT since September 1987, which is when the DOT began tracking such performance statistics and publishing its monthly report.
"We have license plate studies from other airports we serve that tell us people will drive from two or more hours away to take advantage of Southwest's low fares and high level of Customer Service," Kelleher said. "Our unparalleled track record, financial strength, and consistent growth helps us make a positive difference in the communities we serve."
For more than 32 years, Southwest has been in the business of connecting people -- whether they are business executives looking to "close the deal" or loved ones gathering for a special occasion. More than 65 million people each year board Southwest's young fleet of Boeing 737s to fly across the state or across the country at fares so low sometimes it can actually cost more to drive!
In January 2001, Southwest introduced new aircraft with a fresh canyon blue paint scheme and cool, saddle tan leather interiors and seats. The entire fleet is expected to be converted to the new design and interiors by the end of 2005.
Southwest is now in its 32nd year of operation and has reported 30 consecutive years of profitability. Based in Dallas, Southwest operates a fleet of 385 Boeing 737s with an average age of 9.5 years -- one of the youngest pure jet fleets in the domestic airline industry. Even in the aftermath of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, Southwest did not reduce service nor furlough a single Employee.
SOURCE Southwest Airlines