- Sep 11, 2003
- Total Time
Title: Southwest Airlines Releases Economic Proposal to Serve King County International Airport Date: 7/21/2005 2:00:00 PM
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SEATTLE, July 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV)today released its economic proposal, detailing the $130 million capitalinvestment Southwest Airlines will make at King County International Airport.Southwest is proposing to construct facilities in order to move its airportoperation to King County International Airport, from Seattle-TacomaInternational Airport, where ever-increasing costs have become an obstacle togrowth. To view the entire proposal, click on this link:http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/press/king_county_proposal.pdf Southwest will use its own financial resources for the approximately$130 million improvement of King County International Airport (KCIA).Southwest Airlines proposes to build an eight-gate commercial airportfacility, which will include parking garage, passenger concessions, rental carprovisions, special accommodations for cruise traffic and buses, and thenecessary facilities for Southwest's flight operations, including gates,office space, baggage claim, and baggage screening. If approved by King County, Southwest's operations would start at KCIA in2009 with 60 daily flights, and plan to grow to 85 flights. Under the termsof the proposal, Southwest will own, manage, maintain, and operate theterminal. Southwest will pay King County landing fees and land rental ratesstipulated by the County. After the 50-year agreement expires, ownership ofthe entire facility will transfer to King County. "We are giving King County a $130 million airport and by doing this,preserving low fares for all the people of the Puget Sound Region," said GaryKelly, Southwest's CEO, at today's press conference. "The long-term economicbenefits to King County and the region far exceed our initial investment. Asa result of estimated direct expenditures, taxes paid, and the preservation oflow fares, there will be a projected $1.6 billion total economic gain to theregion." The Puget Sound region will benefit from Southwest's proposal.Stimulation of low fares at KCIA also can be expected to stimulate low faresat Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac), as the result of what haslong become known as the "Southwest Effect," a term coined by the U.S.Department of Transportation. One of the more significant aspects of the Southwest Effect is thattraffic doesn't just surge at Southwest and the airport it serves; it alsostimulates traffic at other airlines and at airports in the same region thatare not served by Southwest. For years, Southwest Airlines has initiated and maintained air service incities served by more than one airport, including Chicago, Dallas, LosAngeles, Baltimore/Washington DC, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Houston. Ofthe top U.S. 20 cities in terms of 2004 domestic airport passenger traffic,Southwest served 15 of these markets -- nine of which were served viasecondary airports located within the metropolitan area. According toAirports Council International, all of the major metropolitan airportsincreased passenger traffic levels in 2004, even with airfare competition fromSouthwest's operations at a secondary airport. "The high cost of doing business at Sea-Tac has diluted the SouthwestEffect in the Puget Sound region," Kelly said. "By moving operations to KingCounty International and lowering costs, the Southwest Effect can flourish tothe benefit of all passengers traveling to and from the region." Southwest Airlines cannot afford to operate its successful business modeland preserve low fares for consumers at high-cost airports, which is why theairline looked for alternatives that would preserve its commitment andinvestment in the Seattle market. After more than five years of articulatedconcerns regarding increasing costs at Sea-Tac, Southwest looked to KCIA as aviable alternative. "Southwest has a keen focus on keeping costs low, particularly in thisvolatile energy environment," said Kelly. "Southwest is fulfilling theobligations of its current lease agreement with the Port of Seattle and wehave no plans to do otherwise. When that lease is up in December 2005, justas any lessee would, we have the option to move." Southwest Airlines hopes the Metropolitan King County Council will allowSouthwest Airlines to relocate to King County International Airport. Anypermitting, design, or construction will be undertaken by Southwest only aftera rigorous environmental review by local, state, and federal agencies. Theairline believes its proposal to be consistent with the requirements of localregulatory agencies, and noise impacts will be minimal. Southwest Airlines has the largest all-jet fleet in the world, flying onlyBoeing 737s. The airline exclusively purchases "Next Generation" Boeing 737-700s, a quieter, more powerful aircraft that climbs higher and faster, thusdiminishing the noise on the ground. The scale of Southwest Airlines' proposed initial operations at KCIAresult in just a 13 percent increase in daily departures for KCIA, whichcurrently oversees more than 800 cargo and general aviation departures andlandings each day. The under-utilized King County International Airport wouldproduce a better return on the community's investment with Southwest Airlines'proposal. "Southwest Airlines is committed to the Puget Sound region and its missionof low fares," Kelly said. "In allowing Southwest Airlines to launchcommercial air service from KCIA, King County affirms its dedication topreserving the Freedom to Fly and to the airport's future success." Southwest Airlines, the nation's largest carrier in terms of domesticpassengers enplaned, currently serves 60 airports in 31 states. Its 61stairport, Ft. Myers, begins service on Oct. 2, 2005. Based in Dallas,Southwest currently operates 3,000 flights a day and has 31,000+ employeessystemwide. http://www.southwest.comSOURCE Southwest Airlines -0- 07/21/2005 /CONTACT: Southwest Airlines, +1-214-792-4847/ /Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040715/DATH028-a http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010718/SWNULOOK http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010724/SWALOGO PRN Photo Desk, email@example.com / /Web site: http://www.southwest.com http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/press/king_county_proposal.pdf / (LUV)CO: Southwest Airlines; King County International Airport; Seattle-Tacoma International AirportST: Texas, WashingtonIN: AIR LEI TRASU: ECOCJ-AW-- DATH027 --0655 07/21/2005 14:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com
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