DALLAS, July 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) today welcomed news from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that the carrier has been preliminarily awarded authority to serve Havana with twice daily nonstop service from Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and once daily nonstop service from Tampa Bay International Airport. Pending finalized authority from DOT and subject to requisite approvals from the Cuban government, Southwest® confirms it will begin its Cuba service later this year to Havana (HAV), along with previously awarded service to Varadero (VRA) and Santa Clara (SNU). The carrier will have a total of five daily departures from Ft. Lauderdale (Miami Area) to Cuba—two to Havana, two to Varadero, and one to Santa Clara—plus one daily departure from Tampa to Havana.
"Our Countdown to Cuba continues with new enthusiasm, and we're finalizing plans to bring our world famous value and Customer Service to these emerging U.S. travel markets," said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, & CEO. "As the largest carrier of domestic passengers in the United States*, these nonstop flights from two of our Florida focus cities will provide high-quality, low-fare service to our Customers while also offering convenient connections to Cuba for dozens of U.S. cities across the Southwest network."
Southwest filed an application with the DOT requesting governmental approval to serve Cuba with daily nonstop flights from the carrier's three busiest airports in Florida. Following the initial application on March 2, 2016, Southwest received 120+ letters of support from local, regional, and national organizations, including Orlando, Inc., South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay Partnership, United States Black Chamber of Commerce, United States Business Leaders Network, and United States Hispanic Leadership Institute.
At the filing deadline, more than 25,000 individual supporters had endorsed Southwest's DOT application by visiting Southwest.com/Cuba to petition U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. These individuals consist of a diverse voice of tens of thousands of citizens across the country supporting Southwest's low-fare competition and Customer-friendly travel options to Cuba.
Southwest will soon publish its low fares and flight schedules for Cuba service and intends to begin operations to Cuba later this year. Southwest continues to plan for 2016 year-over-year available seat mile (ASM) growth in the 5-6 percent range.
ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
In its 46th 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 50,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest operates more than 3,900 departures a day during peak travel season across a network of 98 destinations in the United States and seven additional countries with service to three airports in Cuba to begin later this year, subject to government approvals.
*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. That connectivity enables Customers to use their personal devices to view video on-demand movies and television shows, as well as more than 20 channels of free, live TV compliments of our valued Partners. Southwest created Transfarency℠, a philosophy which treats Customers honestly and fairly, and in which low fares actually stay low. Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer bags fly free® to everyone (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply, some airlines may allow free checked bags on select routes or for qualified circumstances), and there are no change fees, though fare differences might apply. The airline proudly unveiled a bold new look: Heart. A new logo, aircraft livery, interior design featuring a new seat and flight attendant galley, Employee-designed uniforms, and an updated airport experience all showcase the dedication of Southwest Employees who 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 43 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 2015 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at SouthwestOneReport.com.
Book Southwest Airlines' low fares online at Southwest.com or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/southwest-airlines-receives-us-dot-authority-to-serve-havana-cuba-from-ft-lauderdale-miami-area-and-tampa-bay-300295363.html
SOURCE Southwest Airlines Co.