Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) today announces its intent to begin jet service from Northwest Florida’s new international airport near Panama City, Florida in May 2010. The planned service is made possible through a strategic alliance agreement developed between Southwest and The St. Joe Company (NYSE: JOE), one of Florida’s largest landowners and real estate developers. The new airport will introduce daily jet service to the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast, providing Southwest Customers easy access to its stunning white-sand beaches and vibrant communities. For more information on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast, please visit www.thebeachfla.com.
Southwest has not released specific service details, saying only that it will add at least two daily nonstop flights from Northwest Florida to four destinations across its 68 airport network for a total of eight daily nonstop flights when it begins service next year. Northwest Florida will be the first international airport to open in the nation in more than a decade. The new international airport is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in May 2010. Specific details on Southwest’s fares and schedule will be available in December 2009.
“I am certain our more than 90 million annual Customers will be delighted to learn they are now free to hit Florida’s white-sand beaches with Southwest Airlines’ great, low-fare service from across the nation’s largest airline network, taking Northwest Florida visitors off the roadways and into the airways,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO. “I would like to applaud the ingenuity and hard work that both Southwest and St. Joe leadership poured into this unique agreement.” Kelly said.
“Southwest’s arrival in Northwest Florida is expected to stimulate job growth, economic development, and give travelers more of the options they’ve been seeking,” said Britt Greene, President and CEO of St. Joe. “St. Joe is the largest landowner in Northwest Florida with hundreds of thousands of acres in the service area of the new airport site. Southwest will help position Northwest Florida as one of America’s leading beach destinations. At the same time, this region is also home to one of the world’s most important defense aerospace economic clusters anchored by U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Army aviation installations.”
A number of regional organizations are assisting in launching the service. Coastal Vision 3000, the Northwest Florida business group that created the regional destination brand, "The Beach,” is participating in the initiative. The Bay County Tourism Development Council and The South Walton Tourism Development Council have pledged marketing resources. The Panama City – Bay County International Airport and Industrial District has worked hard to enable new air service.
The Company will release additional details regarding its future Panama City service in the coming months. The airline’s entry into Florida’s panhandle will be made possible in part by the airline optimizing its current flight schedule and repositioning aircraft.
Additional information with respect to the terms of the strategic alliance agreement between Southwest and St. Joe, including financial obligations, will be available in a Form 8-K that will be filed by St. Joe with the Securities and Exchange Commission today.
To view a blog post on this news, visit: http://www.blogsouthwest.com.
After 38 years of service, Southwest Airlines, the nation’s leading low-fare carrier, continues to stand above other airlines—offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the most productive airline in the sky and offers Customers a comfortable traveling experience with all premium leather seats and plenty of legroom. Southwest recently updated its gate areas and improved its boarding procedure to make flying Southwest Airlines even more convenient. Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) currently serves 67 cities in 34 states (Service to Milwaukee begins Nov.1 making it our 68th). Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,200 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide.
More information about Southwest can be found at our web site at http://www.southwest.com
About St. Joe
The St. Joe Company (NYSE: JOE), a publicly held company based in Jacksonville, is one of Florida’s largest real estate development companies and Northwest Florida’s largest private landowner. St. Joe is primarily engaged in real estate development and sales, with significant interests in timber.
More information about JOE can be found on its web site at www.joe.com.
The St. Joe Company
Brandy King, Senior Manager, Communications