Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) finished unpacking boxes and is laying out the welcome mat as it adds the finishing touches to its new home in Midway`s Concourse B. The airline is now ready to build on their high standard of Customer Service in Chicago.
“Our Chicago Customers will enjoy Southwest`s new and improved facilities in Concourse B,” said Patty Kryscha, Southwest`s Chicago District Marketing Manager. “Our move to new spacious and comfortable gates reflects Southwest`s dedication to superior Customer Service.”
To better serve its Customers in Chicago, Southwest was the first airline to support the Midway Airport Terminal project. In response to increased Customer demand, the move to Concourse B will allow the airline to expand its Chicago service. At the project`s completion, Southwest will have added four new gates going from 15 gates to a total of 19 gates on Concourse B.
Southwest`s new facilities provide ample space for the airline`s operations, which have made a powerful economic impact in Chicago`s Midway Airport. The airline contributed more than $218 million to the local economy in 2002 through salaries and benefits, fuel purchases, landing fees, and other expenditures. Most important for travelers, fares from Chicago`s Midway Airport have plummeted since Southwest`s arrival in 1985, helping the structure of Southwest`s Customer base expand to new heights. In fact, Southwest`s Chicago Customer base has grown more than 230 percent in the last decade.
“With our new gates we can accommodate more Customers and eventually add more service,” said Karen Matsler, Southwest`s Chicago Station Manager.
Southwest introduced service to Chicago Midway Airport in 1985 with seven daily nonstop departures to St. Louis. Since then the airline`s service has skyrocketed to 132 daily nonstop departures to 29 cities, making Chicago Midway Southwest`s fifth largest airport in terms of daily departures.
Southwest Airlines, the fourth largest domestic carrier in terms of Customers boarded, currently serves 59 airports in 58 cities in 30 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates nearly 2,800 flights a day with a fleet of more than 380 Boeing 737s with an average age of nine years—one of the youngest pure jet fleets in the domestic airline industry.