Southwest Airlines to return to Jackson next year, airport officials announce
Oct. 22, 2020
Source: Justin Vicory, Mississippi Clarion Ledger
Southwest Airlines will return to Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport next year, airport officials announced Thursday.
“The JMAA is thrilled to welcome back Southwest Airlines and I feel sure that the citizens of Jackson and central Mississippi will find this news very exciting. As U.S. travel recovers in 2021, we look forward to hosting more and more passengers at JAN,” Jackson Municipal Airport Authority board chairman Robert E. Martin said in a news release.
JMAA said details of startup dates, fares and routes would be released as they become available.
Southwest confirmed the news in an email that included the company's latest financial report.
"Today we announce our intention to add service in first half 2021 to Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia, and a return to Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport in Mississippi," Southwest CEO and board chairman Gary C. Kelly said in the company's third-quarter report released Thursday morning. "We are leveraging additional airports in cornerstone cities where our customer base is large, along with adding easier access to popular leisure-oriented destinations from across our domestic-focused network."
The return marks a positive economic development for the airport which, like others across the country, has faced a significant downturn in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The airport is also still reeling from Southwest's departure in 2014, according to a Jackson State University study. When Southwest left, the airline represented 27% of all available seats at the airport and meant a loss of direct service to Houston, Orlando and Chicago airports. Up until its departure, the airline had offered service in Jackson for 17 years.
Since the departure, the board secured commitments in 2018 with Via and Frontier airlines to offer flights to Orlando and Denver.
Southwest's return will mark the sixth airline to service Jackson. American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines and Via Airlines also provide service.
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Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba applauded the return of Southwest.
“It’s great news for our city and great news for travelers throughout the region who have been missing access to Southwest’s accessible flights and low fares,” Lumumba said in a news release Thursday. “I want to applaud the JMAA Board of Commissioners and CEO for their hard work and vision. JAN has become a strong regional competitor and Southwest’s return is the most recent evidence of their efforts.”
JMAA said more information would be available at www.iFlyJackson.com, on JMAA’s social media platforms and at www.southwest.com.
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