Southwest Airlines to Serve Denver International Airport

DALLAS, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) , the nation’s low-fare leader, announced today it will initiate service from Denver International Airport beginning in early 2006. The airline will announce specifics of its flight schedule and fares via a news conference in Denver next week.

“Southwest has experienced strong Customer demand to serve an obvious gap in our route network, and this service will return Southwest’s legendary low fares to Colorado,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s Chief Executive Officer. “Denver’s growing community is one we have studied and intended to serve, for quite some time, and we look forward to also serving the people of the entire State of Colorado.”

Southwest’s announcement today is a testament to the positive changes that have occurred as a result of the construction and cost conscious operation of Denver International Airport. Southwest served the Denver market between 1983 and 1986 from Stapleton International Airport. Since then, the Denver airport system has established a strong infrastructure, with six runways, and substantially reduced its rates on a cost per passenger basis, creating an economically attractive environment for Southwest Airlines. Additionally, Denver International Airport was ranked number one for ontime arrivals in 2004, making the airport a great fit for Southwest’s quick aircraft turn times.

“Over time, Denver International has dramatically reduced its costs, increased its efficiency, and demonstrated that Denver can be a viable opportunity for Southwest Airlines,” Kelly said. “This year a leading travel publication named Denver as the ‘Best Airport in North America.’”

Southwest Airlines was able to accelerate the start-up of this planned new city due to aircraft availability created by Hurricane Katrina-related schedule changes and the resumption of new aircraft deliveries from The Boeing Co. subsequent to the cessation of a Boeing work stoppage.

Historically, when Southwest enters a new city, fares drop substantially and demand for travel greatly increases. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in a 1993 study described the phenomenon as the “Southwest Effect.” Statistics from one of Southwest’s newest cities, Philadelphia, provide a perfect example:

* Since Southwest Airlines entered the Philadelphia market in May 2004,
total Philadelphia traffic has increased nearly 30 percent.
* In the third quarter of 2004, the average one-way fare between
Philadelphia and Chicago Midway Airport fell 46 percent, while traffic
increased by 137 percent. In addition, the average one-way fare between
Philadelphia and Chicago O’Hare (an airport that Southwest Airlines
does not serve) fell 44 percent, while traffic increased by 28 percent,
showing that Southwest Airlines’ arrival in new markets benefits even
sister airports and other airlines.

Southwest has reported 32 consecutive years of profitability and job security for its Employees, and earlier this year celebrated its 34th year in business. Based in Dallas, Southwest operates a fleet of 439 Boeing 737s with an average age of nine years-among the youngest pure jet fleets in the domestic airline industry. Southwest Airlines, the nation’s largest carrier in terms of domestic passengers enplaned, currently serves 61 airports in 31 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 2,900 flights a day and has 31,000+ Employees systemwide.

http://www.southwest.com/

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