Southwest Airlines Exec. Speaks About Airline Impact on Memphis

(Memphis) Southwest Airlines’ iconic blue and orange planes are expected to land in Memphis by the end of the year.

“It is exciting because it offers opportunity for more competition, maybe some impacts in rates and jobs,” said Mason Wilson, president of the Memphis traffic club.

Director of sales for the airline, Wally Devereaux isn’t saying exactly when the low-fare airline will arrive, or when we can expect an airfare price war to take off, “Typically when Southwest does enter a market you’ll see reduction in fares.”

The most immediate impact Southwest executives say you will see are the extra Airtran flights we told you of last week.

Southwest plans on using the Airtran brand to build its presence in the city.

“We have nonstop service on Airtran service to Baltimore, Chicago and Orlando. I think it’s exciting for Memphis because you’ll have great connectivity at some point in time,” said Devereaux.

Devereaux advises if Memphians want to see more flights added, to use the flights already being offered.

“What all the airlines are faced with today is the fact that it’s a very low margin business. When you put flights into a market, they need to be profitable,” said Devereaux.

Devereaux believes flights will be profitable.

“But in the event those flights aren’t profitable that would be something we have to look at,” said Devereaux.

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