Today, we celebrated our new service at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) with a beach theme that included plenty of beach balls and local music. Hundreds of Customers and Employees were onhand as Gary Kelly joined ECP Airport Authority Vice Chairman Bill Cramer and St. Joe CEO Britt Greene in a morning news conference.
“Southwest Airlines promises to bring low fares, great Customer Service, and a strong community commitment to the great folks of Northwest Florida,” Gary said. “Serving this region has been on our wish list for quite some time, and it’s a proud day for Southwest Airlines to finally begin flying to the beautiful Emerald Coast.”
We now offer a better way to the beach with a total of eight daily nonstops: • ECP to/from Nashville--two daily nonstops • ECP to/from Houston Hobby--two daily nonstops • ECP to/from Baltimore/Washington--two daily nonstops • ECP to/from Orlando-–two daily nonstops
In addition to the eight daily nonstops, we will offer direct (with a stop but no change of planes) or connecting service to more than 58 destinations from ECP, including Dallas and Chicago Midway. We will operate from Gate 3 at the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport with approximately 30-35 Employees who will call the region home.
This morning’s press conference capped a weekend full of festivities celebrating the inaugural flights (We officially launched service yesterday, Sunday, May 23).
We kicked off the weekend by landing the first commercial aircraft at the first U.S. airport to be built in more than a decade. Our plane was met by a water cannon salute and local Southwest fans and Employees. On Saturday evening, we hosted the “Tootsies Tweetup,” giving local Customers a chance to mix and mingle with us and a chance to win roundtrip tickets, at Tootsies, a local establishment. The first Southwest Customers on Sunday morning were serenaded by local band, Todd Sparks and The Shrimpboat Cowboys, and were treated to coffee, a southern breakfast, and beach balls in our gate area. Our Employees also celebrated the official first day of service by donating volunteer hours with the Florida Trail Association, where they cleared hiking trails and built bridges in Florida Trail’s East Pine Log Trail in Pine Log State Forest. This section of the Florida Trail is about four miles northwest of the northern boundary of the new airport.