Southwest plans to add Memphis-Dallas nonstop route - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Southwest plans to add Memphis-Dallas nonstop route

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Southwest Airlines said Monday it plans to add 20 flights to 12 new nonstop destinations, including Memphis to Dallas, if the low cost airline is able to acquire two additional gates at Dallas Love Field.  

In February Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said his airline is paying close attention to Memphis and is looking to expand its presence at Memphis International Airport.

Southwest is currently operating six daily roundtrip flights out of Memphis International to Houston Hobby, Chicago Midway, Baltimore-Washington, Orlando and Tampa. The airline took over the gates owned by its subsidiary AirTran.

This summer Southwest is adding another flight to Baltimore.

In addition to the planned Memphis-Dallas route Southwest will add nonstop service to Charlotte, N.C., Charleston, S.C., Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Newark, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Sacramento,  San Francisco, and Seattle.

MORE: Southwest looks to expand Memphis presence
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These 12 new nonstop destinations would be added to Southwest's schedule if the airline is able to obtain the rights to two Love Field gates that American Airlines must relinquish under the terms of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. These destinations would be in addition to the 15 cities that Southwest previously announced it would serve from Love Field beginning later this year, and five new nonstop destinations currently planned for service in 2015 that Southwest announced Monday: Boston Logan, Oakland, Panama City Beach, Fla., Portland, Ore., and San Jose.

"Southwest has provided North Texas with convenient, award winning service from Dallas Love Field for 43 years," said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines' Chairman, President, and CEO.  "We are proud of our commitment to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. No other airline can offer the low fares, variety of destinations, and Customer Service that Southwest is committed to providing at Love Field." 

With the upcoming sunset of the Wright Amendment restrictions on long-haul flights from Love Field, demand for Southwest nonstop service from the airport far exceeds the company's current gate capacity.  Access to two additional gates would allow Southwest to provide North Texas residents and visitors with the benefits of new nonstop flights to 12 additional destinations that would not otherwise be possible – a big win for consumers, businesses and the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

The Campbell-Hill Aviation Group recently completed a study quantifying the economic benefits of Southwest service on two additional gates at Love Field.  Key points from the Campbell-Hill study show that Southwest's proposed service would:

  • Reduce airfares nearly $100 per roundtrip in the 12 new Love Field markets
  • Produce more than $210 million in fare savings annually to Dallas residents and visitors
  • Result in 1.4 million additional passengers per year flying to and from Dallas
  • Attract 350,000 new visitors to the Dallas area annually – visitors who will spend money in the local economy generating over 4,700 new jobs, $214 million in annual earnings to local workers, and $559 million in local sales per year.

The complete Campbell-Hill study is available at www.swamedia.com.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is a single aviation market that is served by two airports, DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field.  In total, these airports have 175 gates (155 at DFW and 20 at Love Field).  If Southwest were to acquire the two additional Love Field gates, its percentage of gates in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market would remain very small, around 10 percent.  Importantly, other carriers, such as Virgin America and Delta Air Lines, already have a presence at DFW International Airport and can easily expand at DFW's ample gate facilities. In contrast, Southwest's growth in North Texas can occur only at Love Field under the terms of the five-party agreement that resulted in the end of the Wright Amendment.  

"More service in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area will bring more opportunity for all North Texas consumers," said Kelly. "Southwest's proposal to acquire the two gates is the only option that allows all three carriers to actually grow in this market, which increases competition and provides additional travel choices at lower fares. Furthermore, as a Texas company headquartered in Dallas, more growth for Southwest means more local jobs, higher tax payments to the City of Dallas, and more economic development for the entire region."

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