Southwest could add nonstop flights between Dallas, Charleston

By Liz Segrist
lsegrist@scbiznews.com
Published March 11, 2014

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines plans to add nonstop service to the Charleston International Airport if it acquires two additional gates at Dallas Love Field.

Southwest does not know how many nonstop flights per day would come to Charleston, spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger said in an email.

“We don’t have a schedule yet for this service as we have not been awarded the gates,” Eichinger said. “Once we know if we can serve Charleston, we’ll announce our schedule and our fares.”

If the gates are secured, it will be the second addition of nonstop service to the Charleston airport announced this month. JetBlue Airways plans to add two nonstop flights to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport outside of Washington, D.C., starting June 19.

“This speaks volumes to the vitality of our air service market and how attractive Charleston and the Lowcountry are as a travel destination,” Airports Director Paul Campbell Jr. said in a statement.

As a part of the U.S. Air and American Airlines merger, American Airlines must divest the Dallas gates.

The additional gates would increase competition and provide additional travel choices at lower fares, Southwest Airlines’ Chairman Gary Kelly said in a statement. Southwest does not have a timeline on when the gates will be awarded, Eichinger said.

Including Charleston, these new gates would enable Southwest to add 20 flights to 11 more destinations, including: Charlotte, Detroit, Indianapolis, Memphis, Tenn., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., Newark, N.J., Philadelphia, Pa., Raleigh/Durham, Sacramento, Calif., San Francisco and Seattle.

The low-cost carrier has been flying in and out of Charleston International Airport since 2011. Campbell said the additional flights show “the confidence Southwest has in CHS to provide a great travel experience for their customers.”

Across the state, Southwest announced plans last year to discontinue direct service between Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport and Nashville, as well as daily nonstop flights between GSP and Orlando and GSP and Baltimore-Washington Airport.

Southwest has 96 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist.

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