Feisty and unconventional Southwest Airlines Co. will celebrate its fifth anniversary in Philadelphia on Saturday with balloons, free food, and a plane pull at Philadelphia International Airport to benefit the Ronald McDonald House charities.
The nation's largest low-fare carrier, Southwest invigorated travel when it came here in 2004, reducing fares on routes where it competed, particularly with US Airways Group Inc., the region's dominant airline.
Dallas-based Southwest expanded rapidly in its early years. Growth has slowed now because of the economy.
John Minor has been Southwest's station manager in Philadelphia since the airline arrived. He reflects on Southwest's growth, rival US Airways, and $300 million in improvements to Terminals D and E, where Southwest has its gates.