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VOL. 129 | NO. 166 | Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Southwest, Frontier Add Memphis Flights

By Amos Maki

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Frontier Airlines and Southwest Airlines are increasing service at Memphis International Airport, providing more service for local flyers and boosting the facility’s transition away from a high-priced hub airport.

Frontier Airlines and Southwest Airlines both announced they are increasing Memphis service in the coming months, with Frontier adding flights to Dallas/Fort Worth and Southwest adding flights to Orlando.

(Frontier Airlines)

(Southwest Airlines/Stephen M. Keller)

Frontier announced Tuesday, Aug. 26, that it is adding six weekly flights between Memphis International and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport beginning Oct. 26.

In addition, Southwest Airlines is adding a daily nonstop flight between Memphis International and Orlando International Airport during the spring beginning next year.

The additional service is welcome news for local flyers and Memphis International, which has been seeking new service as it transitions from an airport dominated by a Delta Airlines hub to one focused on origin and destination traffic.

“We are continuing to pursue the growth of existing airlines at Memphis International, as well as the addition of new carriers,” said Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority.

Frontier was promoting the new flights on Tuesday with fares as low as $39 each way. The airline’s introductory fares are available for flights through March 1, 2015, and include all taxes and transportation fees. The special offer is available only at the company’s website, FlyFrontier.com, through Aug. 30 at 10:59 p.m.

The new Frontier flights will run every day except Saturday. Frontier returned to Memphis earlier this year with nonstop flights between Denver and Memphis and will add nonstop flights to Washington-Dulles in September. Airport Authority officials said the response from passengers to the Denver flights has been strong, with more than 95 percent of available seats filled.

Southwest, which began service in Memphis in November and has increased its flights, is launching the additional daily flight from Memphis to Orlando March 6, giving passengers two daily nonstop flights between Memphis and Orlando during the spring break season.

“We are excited to add flight options during spring break, which is one of the year’s busiest travel periods,” said Brockman.

Airport Authority officials have been on a mission over the last few years to bring more air service to Memphis International as it makes the shift from an airport dominated by connecting flights to one focused on generating origin and destination traffic. Today, around 98 percent of the airport’s enplanements originate in Memphis, a massive shift from prior years, when nearly 70 percent of airport traffic was from connecting flights.

As Delta Airlines reduced its grip on the airport, other airlines, such as Frontier, Southwest, American Airlines-US Airways and United, have either started new service or increased their offerings.

Including the new Frontier and Southwest flights, the airport has added 20 new flights outside of the Delta Airlines system since November.

“Competition is the magic ointment for affordable airfare pricing,” said Jack Sammons, chairman of the Airport Authority board.

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