Southwest Airlines solidified its Florida presence today by announcing service to Fort
Myers, Fla., from Southwest Florida International Airport beginning in October
2005. Fort Myers will be Southwest’s sixth Florida city. Fares and flight
schedules will be announced next month.“Fort Myers is a great addition to the Southwest Airlines Family, not only
from a business standpoint, but from a Southwest Florida Customer standpoint
as well,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s Chief Executive Officer. “Now, our
Southwest Florida Customers have to look no further than their own backyard
for Southwest’s legendary low fares and great Customer Service.”
With this announcement, Southwest Airlines continues to expand its
commitment to the state of Florida. Southwest Florida International Airport
will become Southwest’s 61st airport systemwide. In Florida, Southwest
currently serves Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa Bay,
and West Palm Beach. Southwest Airlines is the largest intra-Florida carrier
and transported more than 5.7 million Floridians in 2004.
“We are very excited about Southwest Airlines’ decision to inaugurate
service at Southwest Florida International Airport,” said Robert M. Ball,
A.A.E., Executive Director of the Lee County Port Authority. “We have been
working closely with Southwest for many years and are pleased they have
selected Southwest Florida as their newest destination. We are confident this
partnership will be successful and know travelers will enjoy this exciting new
Historically, when Southwest enters a new city, fares drop dramatically
and demand for travel increases. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
in a 1993 study described the phenomenon as the “Southwest Effect.”
Statistics from Southwest’s newest cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are a
* Since Southwest Airlines entered the Philadelphia market in May 2004, total Philadelphia traffic has increased nearly 30 percent.
* In just one year, Southwest Airlines has grown to capture nearly
10 percent of the Philadelphia market share.
* In the third quarter of 2004, the average one-way fare between
Philadelphia and Chicago Midway 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 sister airports and other airlines.
* Since Southwest Airlines entered the Philadelphia market, one-way
fares between Philadelphia and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., have dropped 74
percent; one-way fares between Philadelphia and Phoenix have dropped
33 percent; one-way fares between Philadelphia and Los Angeles have
dropped 33 percent; one-way fares between Philadelphia and Las Vegas
have dropped 27 percent; and one-way fares between Philadelphia and
Tampa Bay have dropped 20 percent.
* Southwest, which began service from Pittsburgh on May 4 with 10 daily
nonstop flights to Chicago, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and Orlando, had
a total of 57,260 passengers, accounting for six percent of the
passengers at Pittsburgh International Airport, in its first month of
operations. Southwest was the fourth busiest airline at Pittsburgh
behind US Airways (570,168), Delta (65,228), and United (60,931) for May 2005.
“Southwest is thrilled to begin operating out of a new, state-of-the-art
facility,” Kelly said. “The new terminal will be a great home for Southwest,
and Fort Myers will be a fantastic addition to our strong 61 city network.”