GRAND RAPIDS - Southwest Airlines has announced that it will make Grand Rapids one of their next cities to be transitioned from AirTran Airways to Southwest Airlines service starting August 11, 2013, the Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan announced today.
Beginning August 11, 2013 Southwest will have nonstop service to Baltimore/Washington, Denver, Orlando, St. Louis. The additional Southwest destinations represent a nearly doubling of service levels that is seen out of Grand Rapids today. Today there are three flights per day and starting in August there will be six. Southwest nonstop service to Denver and St. Louis are new, additional destinations out of Grand Rapids.
“Southwest’s expanded service to Gerald R. Ford International Airport is more great news for our region’s economy. The news affirms the combined efforts of RAAWM, Gerald R Ford Airport leadership, community leaders and local travelers to ensure West Michigan has quality commercial air service,” said Dick DeVos, RAAWM’s founder and chairman.
This is another step in the right direction for the Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan and Gerald R Ford International Airport officials who have been working to increase the number of low-cost carriers such as AirTran Airways, Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air serving West Michigan. The alliance was integral to attracting AirTran to Grand Rapids in 2010, and alliance officials helped convince Southwest Airlines to continue to fly from the airport after it acquired AirTran in May 2011.
Launched in 2008, the Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan is a nonprofit organization working to bring quality commercial air travel to the region to foster long-term economic growth and enhance overall quality of life in West Michigan.
Chaired by businessman Dick DeVos, the alliance is pursuing a multi-faceted strategy to improve air service to West Michigan – a region spanning from Kalamazoo to Traverse City and the Lakeshore to Lansing. In 2008, Ford International Airport was the third most expensive of the nation’s largest 100 airports. In 2011 it dropped to No. 23.