Southwest Airlines is landing in Memphis, according to Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell's office. Luttrell along with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton met with the airlines CEO on Friday.
"They were very reassuring, and we have to keep in mind they were the ones that really reached out to us for this meeting yesterday and you don't reach out unless you definitely have a plan in mind," says Luttrell.
At the meeting, he says, Southwest Airlines's CEO discussed plans to expand their services to Memphis and wants to have planes on the ground in a year. There is no firm timetable, but the airline expressed interest in having planes at Memphis International Airport by the end of 2013.
"They want to try to sell themselves and really kind of energize the community around the Southwest business model. What we in turn offered was to help them in any way we can and to get established as we would with anyone who wants to come in and do business in our community," says Luttrell.
Many Memphians are excited about soon having cheap air fares in Memphis and not having to travel out of state to catch the deals.
"It will absolutely make me travel a little bit more, especially since I don't have to drive to Nashville or Atlanta to get cheaper fare," says frequent flyer Deancy Okoevor, "My friend and I went to Miami in the spring and it ended up costing us like $300 less if we flew out of Atlanta."
Memphians, including the city's leaders, are eager about the prospect of getting more competition in the Bluff City.
"Competition really requires that all of the competitors kind of raise their game and also to challenge its competitors to put the best product on the table at the most affordable cost," says Luttrell.
Some flyers are still skeptical about if the deal will really take off.
"Unless Southwest comes in and completes this merger and we see new destination traffic and new destinations out of Memphis, I don't see it as a win for Memphis International Airport," says resident and flyer John Scruggs.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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