PENSACOLA, Fla., May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward announced today that Southwest Airlines would begin service at Pensacola International Airport (PNS) later this year. Pensacola International is currently served by AirTran Airways, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest.
"By the end of the year, we will see Southwest jets landing at Pensacola International Airport," said Mayor Hayward.
In 2011, Southwest completed the purchase of AirTran Airways, which has served Pensacola since 2001. Southwest announced in January 2012 that it intended to convert Pensacola's AirTran operations to Southwest over time. This morning, Southwest announced their flight schedule for the remainder of 2013, including nonstop service from Pensacola to Houston Hobby Airport (HOU) and Nashville International Airport (BNA), slated to begin by November. As a result of its decision to transition Atlanta from a hub to a focus city, Southwest is expected to phase out service from Pensacola to Atlanta. The new Southwest service will represent a 22% increase in seat capacity over AirTran's existing service, and the number of one-stop destinations served will increase from 53 to 65.
"Since the day I took office, proactively pursuing Southwest has been one of my top priorities, and I have worked tirelessly to bring them to Pensacola," said Hayward. "Since flying to Southwest's headquarters in Dallas in March 2011, I've been able to build a strong relationship with Southwest's leadership, and I'm excited to finally welcome them to the Upside of Florida.""Mayor Hayward immediately recognized and has fostered our ability to bring the low fare power of Southwest Airlines into Pensacola," said Bob Montgomery, Vice President of Airport Affairs of the Dallas-based carrier. "We're excited to offer nonstop service to two new cities and give Customers using Pensacola International Airport more seats each week, on larger aircraft, and the ability to reach even more cities through the Southwest network." Air travelers can now book flights to and from Pensacola at Southwest.com, and use Southwest Rapids Rewards points to travel from Pensacola to anywhere in the Southwest network. "Today's announcement is a tremendous victory for our community," said Hayward. " Pensacola is driving economic development, tourism, and transportation across the region, and I believe this partnership with Southwest will help take us to new heights." About Southwest AirlinesIn its 42 nd year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by nearly 46,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, and including wholly-owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways, operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 97 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and six near-international countries. About Pensacola International AirportOwned and operated by the City of Pensacola, Pensacola International Airport is the largest airport between New Orleans and Jacksonville, serving more than 1.5 million passengers each year. The airport supports over 5700 jobs and generates an estimated annual impact of over $565 million. SOURCE Pensacola International Airport