I’m delighted to share with you that this coming spring, our hardworking Employees at our San Antonio Customer Support and Services (CS&S) Center will be relocating within San Antonio to a new location at I-35 and O’Connor. Our existing San Antonio CS&S Center (SC) has a unique design which does not allow many options for flexible use of the space nor for expanding our operations. After careful consideration of the limitations of this facility, we determined that it was best to find a new home for our SC Employees.
As one of our original cities, Southwest Airlines has a longstanding relationship with the San Antonio community and we are optimistic that the new Center will provide additional opportunities to grow our Southwest Airlines Family in San Antonio. The new Center, which is set to open sometime in the second quarter, has the capacity for up to 800 full-time positions and will allow us to continue expanding employment at SC as a part of our ongoing Departmental goal of being appropriately staffed and prepared meet the needs of our Customers.
To meet that goal, we’ve already been hiring at several CS&S locations, including San Antonio. The new SC location will allow us to better accommodate the work force, some of whom were in temporary work spaces because we’d run out of room in the current facility. In fact, we hired 165 new Employees at the San Antonio Center in 2011, and we are projected to hire an additional 250 Agents at SC in 2012.
Looking more broadly at all our call center capabilities, we have previously committed that we will keep all nine Southwest CS&S and AirTran Reservations locations open at least through the end of 2012. As a reminder, CS&S Southwest Employees may transfer to open positions at SC, but while the unions are working through the Seniority List Integration, AirTran Airways Agents are not yet eligible to transfer in to open Southwest positions.
Southwest opened the original San Antonio Reservations Center in 1981 as our second Reservations Center. The new CS&S Center will be located at the current R/E Business Center located at 11711 Interstate 35 N inSan Antonio. Southwest has executed a 15-year lease, with options to extend over time if desired. The location was the product of an exhaustive search by our Airport Affairs Team and CS&S Leadership, which spanned the city limits of San Antonio and the range of possibilities; from building new to reconstructing an existing building to leasing a building already largely configured to our needs. In the end, we choose to lease a building that offers the open floor plan and gives us a “blank canvas” to structure the center to our needs.
We are thrilled to have the opportunity to offer a new work environment for our San Antonio Center Employees and look forward to growing in the community.