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NEWS FLASH--NEW SERVICE COMING NEXT MAY!!!

Employee
Employee
It's Media Day at Southwest's Galactic Headquarters here in Dallas, and we have a LOT of news to share.  2010's first new city....expansion at a long-time Southwest destination....once again Southwest is getting creative to respond to demand for our service!

The biggest news of the day is that Southwest intends to begin service at the brand-new International Airport being built near Panama City, Florida next May.  We're bringing low fares and GREAT service to the land of sugar-white-sand beaches, incredibly gentle blue waters, and an amazing variety of visitor accommodations just in time for vacation season, Summer, 2010!  Up until Southwest's arrival, this part of Northwest Florida has been plagued by high fares and a lack of full-sized airline service.  We're going to change that.  Southwest's entry into the Panama City market will make it possible for all of America to experience the incredible beauty of Northwest Florida!

While we're not ready to announce specific service plans just yet (we'll announce all the specifics this December, so stay tuned!), the "how" of our entry into the Florida Panhandle is as interesting as the "why."  For the first time ever, we've formed a strategic alliance with a corporate partner to enable Southwest to bring a new airport onto our network.  The corporate ally in this venture is our friends at the St. Joe Corporation, with whom we've been talking for over a decade.  Even if the St. Joe name isn't familiar, trust me, you know them.  They are the largest landowner in the State of Florida, owning over a 600,000 acres of prime Florida Panhandle woodlands and beaches.  They're also developing world-class resort communities in the area including the award-winning, jaw-droppingly-beautiful "Watercolor" complex. 

Lots of other local groups are also actively helping Northwest Florida launch its new international airport.  Both the Bay County Tourism Development Council and the South Walton Tourism Development Council have stepped up to the plate to make the new airport a success, as has Coastal Vision 3000.  If you've never visited the Panama City area, believe me, you have an incredible treat in store.  I'm already planning my family's vacation there next summer (whale watchers, take note....*gr*)! 

In other big news about our May 2010 schedule, today Gary announced our intent to grow our St. Louis operation by adding new nonstop service in six markets, and additional flights in two others.  We'll be adding two new nonstop, roundtrip flights each weekday between St. Louis and both Los Angeles and Nashville; and one daily roundtrip between St. Louis and New Orleans; Raleigh/Durham; Seattle; and San Diego.  (Sidebar to all of you nascent "schedule geeks" out there--St. Louis-Nashville service may be the single most frequently requested new market between existing Southwest airports during my 16 years in Schedule Planning.  So, to all of you that have asked for this service through the years, this one's for you--NOW KINDLY GO BUY A TICKET!!!!) 

These additions come on the heels of our other recent St. Louis announcement that we're adding new nonstop service between Lambert and both Boston and Minneapolis/St. Paul this coming January.  In fact, we're so pumped about our growth in St. Louis that we'll add a third St. Louis-Minneapolis/St. Paul flight with all of the other new service in May.  All told, by next may, we plan to be operating 83 weekday departures from our gates in Lambert-St. Louis International's East Terminal (which is the newest and most modern terminal at Lambert!).

Again, all of this awesome new service in St. Louis and Panama City will begin next May, and will be available for sale this December.  But don't wait until December to check out this blog again--you never know what other surprises we've got in store for you!

 

151 Comments
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Hope this brings the low fares to Panama City, its always been so expensive to fly from here.
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From all of us in STL - Thank u so much!!!!!
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NOW IF SWA WOULD ONLY FLY INTO CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA!!!
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Southwest Airlines! You guys Rock this world!!! Keep it up and keeping it going on. We need Southwest Ailines everywhere and soon. Soo we can have that comfort for all of our travel needs. Now just do assigned seating and charge us the premium of early bird. thanks!
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What about St. Louis-San Antonio??? Come on Gary! You are from SA! You know that there is a big AT&T traffic flow between the 2 markets!
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"Strategic Alliance" = subsidy?
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Great news! I have Family living in the Panama City region! Great Job Southwest!
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It's great to see Southwest expand service in my hometown, St.Louis. American airlines has become a joke. Cutting service, occupying all but one luggage carousel in the older Main Terminal, just awful. Southwest will prove that St. Louis is a great market, and prove that AA has absolutely no clue.....:)
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Now if you could just fly to Key West!!!!!!! Run AirTran out of there!
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subsidy! In this economy. Southwest take what you can get. You deserve to be blessed for making flying affordable for all consumers for over 30 years, And your still not appreciated or valued.
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I can't wait...I have friends that live in the Panhandle and have been pestering me to come visit...now I can....
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Go SWA! Let the party begin!
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MSP-STL +1 is great. When do we get new MSP non-stop service?
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OH PLEASE HAVE A FLIGHT FROM LAS VEGAS. I HAVE BEEN FLYING SWA TO JACKSONVILLE OR NEW ORLEANS FOR YEARS AND DRIVING 5 HOURS TO GET THERE OR PAYING BIG BUCKS TO DELTA OR NWA. Oh this is great news!!!!
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Looking for Southwest to fly from RDU to Newark. That would be awesome!
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Darn! Norfolk gets left out again. We are losing AA's ORF-STL service.
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I wish SWA would fly into Knoxville or Chattanooga
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Bill-- Next time I fly into Dallas and go to HDQ I wanna shake your hand and THANK YOU from the bottom of my Southwest HEART for thinking of us here in STL!!! You have made my day, I am very pumped to see the new additional cities. If anyone remembers our history at STL we started service to MSY and dropped it fairly quickly if I am correct. I am glad to see a return of MSY to STL yet again. My question is, AA still has a big presence for STL-LAX, why did you feel a return of STL-LAX can work now, as well as 2 daily flights? Once again thank you so much! I am very excited and you bet I will be utilizing these flights!!! STL-BNA is so true Bill, when I worked there we constantly got STL-BNA folks who would double book STL-MDW, then MDW-BNA. Glad to see it here finally!!! Thanks again Bill!!! Alex
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Would it be too much to hope for a direct flight between STL and Panama City? My husband's family is in STL and all of mine is in PC! Thanks so much for adding NW FL to your schedule!
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I am VERY disappointed in Southwest. There is no traffic at Panama City, and no money to be made there. Panama City is a very small market...There is a lot more passenger traffic and money to be made in Pensacola. Panama City will be WN's smallest market. There are currently less then 30 flights a day into PFN.
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I am so glad that Nashville is finally getting some LUV from Southwest instead of all of it going to Denver. Nashville could be much bigger if Southwest would just utilize us to our max! Thank you Southwest for the new flights to Panama City and St. Louis from Nashville. This made my day and I look forward to using both of them as soon as they start!!! Thank you!! Nashville Southwest Flyer
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FINALLY! I love Southwest and I'm thrilled that you'll be in Panama City. Since I've moved to LA from Panama City, it's been cheaper for me to fly to London rather than back home for visits. I'm ready to fly an airline that has their act together.
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BIG MISTAKE, should have gone to Pensacola, then you are smack dab in the middle of the fastest growing area in America. From Gulfport MS to Panama City FL is where you see all the future growth and Business growth. Thought Gary Kelly was about building up Business Travel? You need to explain this one. I know Mobile AL needs to improve the airport and access to it. But in that area FORBES and other magazines say Mobile and Baldwin County and the Gulfshores area are hot. If you have picked Pensacola you would score with, Airbus and the facility that is growing fast and could explode with the Tanker, Thyssen Steel Mill in Alabama, New HK Motors Plant in North Baldwin County, thousands of jobs. Plus then Kelly would have a chance to go after a Code Share with Lutfanasa or an Asian Airline for HK to China. I am not sure if getting low landing fees to help a new airprt out is going to do Southwest any good in attracting Business Travel, so keep it Family Fun and Whale watching, you will never grab the Business Travel you seek in decisions like this. Just wonder if your folks realize all the ship building in MS, New Business in AL and then the Military stuff in Ft Walton Beach and Pensacola is right off the Interstate too with easy access. Congratulations to you but some of these moves make one wonder if SWA will ever attract the business clients that they need to make $.
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Southwest, you rock! Love that you're on Twitter too @LessAllan here!
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This Companion Pass holder in KC thanks you - but I think you'll need more than 2 flights a day in June and July.
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Dear Southwest, I live in Panama City and as a Cadet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado i've been burdened with extreme fares when I want to fly home for Spring Break, Summer, Thanksgiving Break, and Christmas. Albeit i'll be ending junior year when these flights start, i'm still so appreciative. My travels home while i'm a senior and during my years as an officer will be greatly enhanced because of your efforts as the greatest airline company. I get my loan here in a few weeks, i'm now toying with the idea of buying your stock solely because of this. Y'all are the best as always. -Brandon
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I second the request for Charlotte. I fly there quarterly to visit our company's second manufacturing facility in Chester Co. S.C., and I'm sick and tired of either driving 3 hours to Raleigh or the Delta shuffle through ATL.
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I was hoping SWA would one day fly to the Panhandle. Kudos for adding Panama City!
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I love PCB but I need to get to Tallahassee. PLEASE!
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Thanks SWA! There are many traveling business professionals that call the Florida Panhandle home. This will allow some of us to actually stay here rather than having to move to larger metropolitan areas that are only filled with crowed highways, bad air, and much more crime!
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What about PIT?
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Would love to have an Atlanta to St. Louis flight!!!
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Please make one of the non-stops to Houston Hobby! Way to go SW!
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THANK YOU for moving into Panama City!!! It would be great to have flights from Los Angeles as well as Las Vegas for us west coasters!!!! We love the panhandle!!!!
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This is awesome news! As a frequent traveler to the most beautiful beaches of the Florida Panhandle...I am thrilled to finally have a choice of airlines. Delta has been out of hand on airfares in this area which really hurts the local economy and their customer's wallets. Southwest = friend to the Panhandle. Delta = time to match Southwest airfares or lose!
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This is awesome! I live in Washington DC but my whole family lives near Panama City and I always end up paying way too much or driving hours out of the way just to come home! Thanks Southwest you guys Rock!!!
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Thank goodness! About time!!!!
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I am SO disappointed that SWA chose a location so far away from Pensacola!!!! To fly SWA, it still means a drive to New Orleans or a drive to PCB. So, I guess we'll still be flying Delta and always having to endure layovers. Thanks for NOTHING!!!
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Let's get some more new service to Dulles Airport PLEASE!!
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We already love you Southwest and you're not even here yet! Thank you for coming to our area! I can't wait for my family and friends to be able to afford to visit me now! -- South Walton Resident
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Thanks. I Live in Panama City and can't wait to go visit friends all over the nation. I can not afford the current delta prices!!!!
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Both Family and Business have us travelling back and forth from Pensacola to Kansas City (MCI) many times during the year. The KC business purchased a company located in Pensacola and that has resulted in many employees flying this route often throughout the year. We were all so hopeful that you would come to Pensacola, picking up the travel from NW FL and the surrounding areas of Destin, Ft. Walton, Gulf Shores, Mobile, Gulfport, Biloxi, etc. - Pensacola has been described as the next location in Florida for big development. What? Not PCB?? Nope. Pensacola. Maybe SWA didn't talk to the right business people.
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THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. I jumped for joy when I heard a non-stop from my new home (RDU) to my old home (STL). I've always thought it would be a great flight with connection to LUV for all those hi-tech companies. The news that BNA and STL will be connected is GRREEAT, too. That means If I can't make the non-stop, I won't have to connect through Midway with its complete lack of seating when I fly to STL to visit the fam. Hope you make tons of money and expand it the route.
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LOVE this news! I just hope Denver is one of the four cities! Thank you Southwest!
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YAY, but I'd be even happier if I could get that nonstop to Las Angeles by March for spring break!
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So glad to hear this GREAT news. We've been praying for this day for many years and welcome the future of Panama City Beach. Can't wait to see how "The Southwest Effect" takes hold of our slice of paradise.
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Great job Southwest! Can't wait to take those PCB flights! It will be so nice to be able to afford to fly right into Panama City. We are a military family and Panama City is home, this is perfect!
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Awesome!!
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Thank you so much for choosing our new Airport. I know you will not be sorry. I am so glad not to have to drive to Tallahasse or Pensacola for decent flights. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!
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Hey, Pensacola people, get St. Joe's to ensure Southwest at least breaks even at your airport, then you can complain. A company basically GUARANTEED a multi-year cushion for Southwest to build a market (and these are two companies who know how to market the heck out of affordable destinations); if Southwest and St. Joe's marketing can't make these routes profitable, I'm sure you'll see PFN become nothing and PNS get ramped up.