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VOL. 129 | NO. 97 | Monday, May 19, 2014

Southwest Adds Flight to Houston

By Amos Maki

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Memphis International Airport is gaining another nonstop daily flight.

Southwest Airlines announced Monday, May 19, that it is adding another flight between Memphis International Airport and Houston Hobby Airport beginning Nov. 2.

The additional Memphis-to-Houston flight is part of a nationwide expansion by Southwest Airlines, one that will give Memphis passengers new opportunities to connect to new international destinations through Southwest gateway cities such as Baltimore-Washington, D.C., Chicago Midway and Orlando, Fla.

“Southwest has made a significant impact on our ability to offer frequent and affordable air service,” said Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. “We are excited about their continued expansion at (Memphis) and the new options available to our passengers.”

The additional service to Houston is part of a growing level of service from Memphis after the airport was gutted by Delta Airlines dropping Memphis as a hub, which resulted in a loss of hundreds of daily flights.

Frontier Airlines announced Tuesday, May 13, that it is adding four weekly flights between Memphis International and Dulles Airport in Washington.

The new flights will run on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday beginning Sept. 8 and are a result of strong passenger response to Frontier’s initial flights between Memphis and Denver, which began in March.

Frontier’s expansion of service follows announcements by American Airlines/US Airways and United Airlines that they are adding new daily flights at Memphis International. United is adding a daily flight to Denver, and American Airlines/US Airways is adding a daily flight to Chicago and Dallas.

Airport Authority officials are transforming Memphis from a hub dominated first by Northwest and then by Delta into an origin-and-destination airport with more competition and a focus on lower fares.

The strategy appears to be working because fares have begun to come down.

Memphis, which ranked among the nation’s highest airfares while it served as a fortress hub, dropped to 14th on the list of the top 100 airports in the country, according to fourth-quarter numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Average roundtrip domestic airfares at Memphis fell to $434.43 from a year earlier, down 10.8 percent. The national average for the same period was $381.05. The airport has experienced a $65 decline in average ticket prices since 2011.

Origin-and-destination traffic increased at Memphis. For the fiscal year 2014, origin-and-destination passengers, people who begin or end their trip in Memphis, have increased by nearly 65,000 compared to the fiscal year 2013.

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