DALLAS, March 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The People of Southwest Airlines® (NYSE: LUV) today inaugurated two international routes that brought new long-haul service for Customers using two of the carrier's growing gateways, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and William P. Hobby Airport in Houston. Each of the new routes is longer than 2,000 miles each-way and marks historic milestones for the carrier both by connecting Central America to the Southwest network of destinations and by offering its longest-ever nonstop scheduled service from any of Southwest's Texas Triangle of original cities of Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston.
Beginning today, Southwest Airlines operates nonstop service between:
- San Jose, Costa Rica, and Baltimore/Washington on a once daily basis, and
- Aruba and Houston (Hobby) seasonally, once every Saturday through Aug. 8, 2015
At Houston's Hobby Airport, Southwest Employees celebrated the first Aruba-bound morning departure. Later, Customers on the first inbound international flight deplaned directly into a celebration in the main domestic concourse, following their U.S. Customs and Border Protection Preclearance processed prior to departing the Caribbean island. This is the first-ever international flying offered from Houston Hobby. This October, Southwest is scheduled to complete the construction of a $156 million international terminal project which will give Houstonians and Southwest Customers from across the network access to more international destinations.
"CBP's Preclearance program allows us to deliver early on the promise we made Houstonians to couple our low fares and high-value Customer Service with Heart to places outside the U.S.," said Teresa Laraba, Southwest's Senior Vice President of Customers. "This is just the beginning of a very big 2015 for our Houston Employees and Customers with an additional six destinations across three countries coming online at Hobby later this year."
The countdown continues toward the carrier's new international offerings for local and connecting Customers who use Hobby Airport. Houston Airports System (HAS) is concurrently improving parking facilities and airport roadways to support additional flights. Southwest's schedule and fares for initial international service from Houston (Hobby) will be published this spring.
Southwest Airlines flight 602 from Baltimore/Washington to San Jose, Costa Rica, brought 143 Customers and the Company's legendary personality and value to Central America for the first time in the 44-year history of the largest domestic carrier* in the United States. Dozens of people came to Juan Santamaria International Airport outside San Jose at the invitation of the Costa Rica Tourism Board to welcome the historic arrival in the lush country known for its natural beauty and adventure tourism.
"Costa Ricans share something with our People—a passion to serve and create the kind of hospitality that brings travelers back for more," said Captain Chuck Magill, Southwest's Vice President of Operational Coordination. "Today, just as much as we celebrate the journey, we celebrate the destinations and relationships we now offer on either side of this new link. Our first scheduled flight to Central America realizes years of dedicated work by our Employees to connect people in Costa Rica with what's important in their lives."
ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
In its 44th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 46,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest operates more than 3,400 flights a day, serving 94 destinations across the United States and six additional countries. Southwest service to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, begins in June 2015; and subject to government approvals, service to Belize City, Belize begins in October 2015.
*Based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's most recent data, Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. The Company operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world, the majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi providing gate-to-gate connectivity while over the United States. That connectivity enables Customers to use their personal devices to access streaming music provided by Beats Music or to view video on-demand movies and television shows, as well as nearly 20 channels of free, live TV compliments of our valued Partners. Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer bags fly free® (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply), and there are never reservation change fees, although fare differences might apply. In 2014, the airline proudly unveiled a bold new look: Heart. The new aircraft livery, airport experience, and logo, showcase the dedication of Southwest Employees to connect Customers with what's important in their lives.
From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as "The Southwest Effect," a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic whenever the carrier enters new markets. With 42 consecutive years of profitability, Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for a triple bottom line approach that contributes to the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities they serve, and an overall commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2013 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at Southwest.com/citizenship.
Book Southwest Airlines' low fares online at Southwest.com or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.
SOURCE Southwest Airlines