EGLIN ARB — Okaloosa County officers introduced Thursday that Southwest Airlines is coming to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport.
New routes will start working May 6 with one-way fares to Nashville thrice a day as little as $69, to Dallas as soon as each day with fares as little as $69 and to Baltimore as soon as each day with fares as little as $79. Service to Chicago will start June 6 with fares as little as $79.
Airports Director Tracy Stage mentioned he was extremely pleased and proud to welcome Southwest, and he thanked native management and the airport’s employees for his or her arduous work in making the partnership occur.
“It’s a monumental announcement,” Stage mentioned. “Southwest Airlines has visited this airport quite a few occasions over the many years, actually, and right this moment’s the day (they’re right here to keep) … . We’re extremely enthusiastic about right this moment’s announcement and we welcome Southwest to the household.”
The announcement was made Thursday morning within the airport’s foremost terminal. A bunch of native elected leaders have been available to have fun the information, as was Steven Swan, Southwest’s senior director for community and schedule planning.
Stage and County Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Ketchel praised everybody concerned within the new settlement and touted the various achievements and recognitions the airport has accrued in current months.
The airport, generally generally known as VPS, was named the quickest rising within the U.S. by Bloomberg. In December the county introduced the airport system is debt free as of this fiscal yr, and Ketchel famous that whereas many airports have been averaging about 37% of their pre-pandemic passenger visitors, VPS already has bounced again to 73%.
She attributed the success to Stage’s management and the county’s centered strategy to managing the airport’s development by way of such steps as making a guiding aviation board and partnering with the Tourist Development Council to safe $3 million for airline recruitment.
“Reflecting again six years in the past, the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport provided solely 4 direct flights,” Ketchel mentioned. “Just this month on Feb. 9, we shared an announcement that expanded total direct service to 47 cities offered by Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines. Today, we safely collect and will have fun one more vital airport achievement that can have a profound and constructive impact on our communities and for our residents.”
Ketchel famous that whereas air journey stays suppressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she sees clear skies forward.
“I believe as quickly as we get everyone vaccinated and we tamp this virus down, we’re gonna see issues reopening and individuals will return to regular enterprise,” she mentioned. “Meanwhile, all of those flights deliver vacationers right here to our space who’re excited to come breathe recent air, sit on our lovely white seashores, take a look at our lovely emerald inexperienced water within the Gulf and simply get pleasure from and sit back with their households.
“No longer are we undiscovered. We are actually found, and I believe as soon as they get the sand of their footwear they will not need to depart.”