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Southwest Celebrates One Year of LUV in Minneapolis/St. Paul

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DALLAS –March 4, 2010 – Southwest Airlines today is celebrating the carrier’s one-year Anniversary in Minneapolis/St. Paul.  While the official Anniversary is March 8, Southwest couldn’t wait to celebrate.  So to commemorate the occasion, Southwest will throw a celebration with its Employees and Customers at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, complete with a DJ, decorations, games, prizes.  Additionally, Minneapolis-based breakfast favorite, Malt-o-Meal, will join the celebration by giving away snacks to Customers who are traveling on Southwest today.
“In just one short year, our service here in the Twin Cities has far exceeded our expectations,” said Mike Gregory, Southwest’s Minneapolis/St. Paul Station Leader.  “We have successfully proven that the Southwest Effect is alive and well by increasing traffic and significantly lowering fares, and I’m honored to work alongside the best Employees in the industry to continue bringing our legendary Customer Service to the good people of Minnesota.”
Southwest Employees are also celebrating the one-year Anniversary in Minneapolis/St. Paul by gathering diapers and baby wipes to donate to a local Women’s Shelter.  The airline’s Employees proudly Share the Spirit through volunteering in the communities where they work and live.

The Department of Transportation has coined the phrase “the Southwest Effect” to describe a phenomenon when Southwest enters a market – namely that fares decrease and traffic increases.  Southwest’s service in Minneapolis/St. Paul in just one year’s time proves that the Southwest Effect is alive and well in the Twin Cities.  Average one-way fares between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago have fallen while passenger traffic between the two cities has grown.  In third quarter 2008, before Southwest entered the market, the average one-way fare between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago was $216.  In third quarter 2009, after Southwest’s entry into the market, the average one-way fare had dropped to $82 -- a savings of 62 percent!  At the same time, passengers loads on the route climbed by 44 percent.
The Minneapolis-Denver route paints a similar picture.  In third quarter 2008, the average one-way fare was $148.  After Southwest entered the market in May 2009, the average one-way fare was only $99, a savings of 33 percent.  At the same time, overall passenger numbers climbed 14 percent, another great illustration of the Southwest Effect.

Southwest Airlines launched service into Minneapolis/St. Paul on March 8, 2009, with eight daily nonstop flights to Chicago Midway.  In May 2009, Southwest added three nonstop flights to Denver, and added two more nonstop flights to St. Louis in January 2010, bringing Southwest’s service up to 13 daily nonstop flights from Minneapolis/St. Paul to three cities, with direct or connecting service to 59 destinations.
After 38 years of service, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers—offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service.  Southwest Airlines is the most productive airline in the sky and offers Customers a comfortable traveling experience, with all leather seats, and all Boeing 737 jets.  Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, currently serving 68 cities in 35 states.  Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,100 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide.