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Southwest Airlines To Fly Out Of Wichita

KSCB News - January 13, 2012 10:22 am

Governor Sam Brownback announced Friday that AirTran Airlines will stay in Wichita and merge to become Southwest Airlines, starting service in Wichita in 2013.

Southwest purchased AirTran in 2011, and there had been concern that Southwest would pull out of some of the areas AirTran services. But Friday in a press conference, Brownback, along with Mayor Carl Brewer and other local officials announced the deal, saying they met with officials from the airline late last week.

"We are pleased to announce that Southwest Airlines has agreed to serve Mid-Continent Airport," Brewer said in a statement. "Wichita has been anxiously waiting to hear what the future plans were with regard to Southwest Airlines and we are thrilled with this news."

The group said a small delegation of elected officials and business leaders traveled to Dallas to meet with high-level officials at Southwest Airlines to work out a deal.

"This is exciting news for Wichita and south central Kansas. Quality commercial air service is key to economic growth," Gov. Brownback said. "My administration looks forward to working with leaders of Wichita, Sedgwick County and Southwest Airlines leaders to finalize this partnership."

Southwest Airlines has requested that the Affordable Airfares Program continue — providing subsidies to keep Southwest in Wichita. Those subsidies include $5 million from the state and $1 million each from Sedgwick County and Wichita. The delegation of local leaders said that Southwest Airlines made it clear that the subsidies are a critical component for them to be in this market.

Southwest is still deciding on routes and what destinations will be available out of Wichita.


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