DALLAS, Aug. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) is excited to announce that LUV has officially landed in West Michigan with service to Grand Rapids Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR). The Grand Rapids community rolled out the red carpet today as Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan (RAAWM) Founder & Chairman Dick DeVos joined the Gerald R. Ford International Airport officials and community leaders in welcoming Southwest's first Customers to Grand Rapids.
Southwest attributes its entrance into the market to the roots planted by its wholly-owned subsidiary AirTran Airways. AirTran served three daily nonstop departures to Baltimore/Washington International Airport and Orlando International Airport. Southwest doubles service options with six daily departures to Baltimore/Washington, Orlando, St. Louis, and Denver, connecting Customers to more than 70 destinations—a 35 percent increase in cities served. And beginning next spring, the carrier will add daily nonstop departures to Ft. Myers and Tampa Bay.
"Our arrival in Grand Rapids represents one of the true benefits of our integration with AirTran Airways, allowing us to continue to bring low fares and legendary Customer Service to the People of Grand Rapids," said Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President, Ron Ricks. "We're thrilled to provide West Michigan Customers access to our broad network of destinations; and just as importantly, giving better access to Michigan for our existing Customers across America. This growth is exciting for Southwest Airlines."
With the introduction of Southwest's larger Boeing 737 aircraft to the market, passenger seat availability will increase 117 percent, up dramatically from approximately 2,600 seats per week available on AirTran to Southwest's availability of more than 5,800 seats per week. Southwest's vast network will provide Grand Rapids Customers with more availability and better options.
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