DALLAS, March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) today celebrates the airline's new service in the Palmetto State by bringing its big planes and little fares to Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP) and Charleston (CHS). Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO, joins Greenville-Spartanburg Executive Airport Director David N. Edwards, Jr. and Airport Chairwoman Minor Shaw in this morning's news conference at the airport's airside garden to officially launch the airline's new service to Greenville-Spartanburg. Later in the afternoon, Kelly also will join Charleston Aviation Authority Chairman Chip Limehouse, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Chairman Robert Pierce, Charleston Regional Development Alliance Chairman Sean Bennett, and Charleston Convention and Visitor's Bureau Chairman Roger Warren in a news conference in the airport's atrium to officially launch the airline's new service to Charleston.
"Our future is looking very bright, and a big reason for that is our new service in Greenville-Spartanburg and Charleston," Kelly said. "We've had our eye on South Carolina for quite some time, and we're proud to bring our special brand of low fares, our Bags Fly Free policy, and our high quality Customer Service to the Upstate and the Lowcountry."
Southwest Airlines now serves the Upstate from Greenville-Spartanburg with seven daily nonstop departures—two daily nonstop departures to/from Baltimore/Washington and Chicago Midway and one daily nonstop to/from Nashville, Houston, and Orlando. Southwest Airlines operates from Gates A3 and A4 in Greenville-Spartanburg's main terminal.
Southwest Airlines now serves the Lowcountry from Charleston with seven daily nonstop departures—three daily nonstop departures to/from Baltimore/Washington, two daily nonstops to Chicago Midway, one daily nonstop to/from Nashville, and one daily nonstop to/from Houston. Southwest Airlines operates from Gate B5 in Charleston's main terminal.
In addition to the seven daily nonstop flights from each market, Southwest Airlines offers direct or connecting service to more than 60 destinations including Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, just to name a few. To download the flight schedule and view all of Southwest's destinations from Greenville-Spartanburg and Charleston, visit http://www.southwest.com/flight/request-schedule.html.
In addition to this morning's news conference, dozens of Southwest Employees along with the Upstate community celebrated the new service to Greenville-Spartanburg throughout the weekend. Four community teams from Greer, Greenville, Spartanburg, and Anderson as well Southwest Employees competed head-to-head in a plane pull competition to see who could pull a Boeing 737 in the fastest time. All cities represented received a pair of roundtrip tickets for their local Chamber of Commerce. The celebration continued in the gate area with games, giveaways, and massages as Customers waited to board their Southwest flights. To show its deep roots in the Upstate community, more than 30 Employees volunteered to plant trees in local parks in Greenville and Spartanburg. Employees also participated in a memorial tree planting at the airport entrance in honor of the late Mr. Roger Milliken who was the airport's only chairman from its inception in 1959 until his recent passing.
"Tell the people of Upstate South Carolina that a mountain is too high, a river too deep, or that an airline is out of reach, and we'll take the challenge," said David N. Edwards, Jr., A. A. E., Executive Airport Director for Greenville-Spartanburg. "Many said it would not happen. Others said it could not happen, but we are a can-do community. We take aim at a target, work hard to reach it, and now, Southwest Airlines has arrived here at GSP International Airport with lower fares, bigger jets, and more destinations."
Prior to today's news conference at Charleston, Southwest Employees were the talk of the town as they participated in activities throughout the weekend! On Saturday, March 12, Southwest Employees were greeted by dozens of cheering fans when the first Southwest plane arrived at the airport. The Employees had a pep rally in the airport to get pumped up for the first day of service. On Sunday, to celebrate the first flights, the airline offered breakfast, coffee, and giveaways for its Customers. To Share the Spirit in the community, Southwest Employees volunteered at the Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House of Charleston. Employees served lunch to families, donated Pillowcases for Smiles, painted and decorated a playroom, and donated toys to the hospital. Southwest Airlines is proud to serve the Lowcountry community.
"We're excited to welcome Southwest Airlines to the Lowcountry," said Susan M. Stevens, A A. E., Director of Airports for the Charleston County Aviation Authority. "Southwest will provide additional opportunities for the traveling public, and we look forward to their success."
In its 40th year of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low-fare carriers--offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 71 cities in 36 states. Beginning March 27, 2011, Southwest will initiate service to Newark Liberty International Airport. Southwest also is one of the most honored airlines in the world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet. To read more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the Southwest Airlines One Report(TM). Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,400 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide.