Southwest Airlines cements presence at Memphis airport

February 20, 2012

Memphis Business Journal
Date: Friday, January 20, 2012

Southwest Airlines confirmed Friday that it will maintain a presence at Memphis International Airport following its acquisition of Airtran Airways but the extent of that presence is not yet known.

Southwest Airlines is indeed coming to Memphis, but the company didn’t give any details on what its local presence will look like. Many in Memphis are keeping an eye on the Dallas-based carrier to see if it can provide more competition, and thus lower fares, at Memphis International Airport.

Southwest (NYSE: LUV) and its subsidiary AirTran Airways announced it would convert AirTran locations in 22 airports, including Memphis, into Southwest operations over time. AirTran currently operates four daily flights from Memphis to Atlanta.

In addition to Memphis, the AirTran airports that will continue to operate and will eventually join the Southwest route map include: Flint, Mich.; Rochester, N.Y.; Pensacola, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Dayton, Ohio; Richmond, Va.; Key West, Fla.; Washington, D.C.; Akron-Canton, Ohio; Wichita, Kansas; Des Moines, Iowa; Branson, Mo.; Portland, Maine; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Cancun, Mexico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Aruba; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bermuda ; and Nassau, Bahamas.

AirTran will also begin serving Mexico City on May 24 and San Jose Cabo, Mexico on June 3.

Of the 69 cities AirTran served when Southwest acquired it on May 2, 2011, 53 cities are planned to convert to full Southwest Airlines service.

On Aug. 12, 2012, AirTran Airways will cease operations at Allentown, Pa.; Lexington, Ky.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Sarasota, Fla.; Huntsville, Ala. and White Plains, N.Y.

Southwest Airlines serves 72 cities in 37 states. It operates more than 3,000 flights a day and employs more than 37,000 people.

Copyright, Memphis Business Journal, Memphis, TN. Used with permission.