MIAMI – Southwest Airlines (WN) today inaugurated a much-anticipated service out of Miami International Airport (MIA) with Airways highlighting the new touchdown in South Florida.
The service, running 12 daily flights to Houston William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), and Tampa International Airport (TPA) actually began on Sunday November 15 and was running in earnest.
Entering Terminal H the celebration began in the check-in area, with excited customers and employees alike mingling amid a colorful balloon display.
A New Era Has Arrived
Heading to gate H11, both local dignitaries and WN employees gave a proper introduction to the service, with MIA Aviation Director and CEO Lester Sola heralding the “special day” describing WN as the “airline we were always talking about having come and join our partnership”.
Miami-Dade County Mayor-Elect Daniella Levine-Cava, who will begin service as mayor tomorrow, described the route as a “win-win-win” and “the harbinger of the return of our tourism industry right here to South Florida in its full glory.”
Mayor-Elect Levine Cava also highlighted the fact that Miami-Dade County residents will avoid a long drive to Fort Lauderdale International (FLL) to enjoy WN service.
Bill Talbert, the President and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) described the service while providing vacation opportunities as also connecting MIA to cities that “are good for the business traveler and meetings and conventions.”
Lastly, WN Senior Vice President of Operations & Hospitality Steve Goldberg described WN as “entering [the MIA] market in a big way in offering residents of Miami easy access to our legendary Southwest hospitality with low fares and connections to over 100 destinations”
Mr. Goldberg also pointed out the fact that WN is nearing a 25 year anniversary of serving South Florida before flight 324 arrived early from BWI.
Many of the dignitaries highlighted “the following” that WN has, a following better understood after viewing the positivity of the airline employees regarding this inaugural service, welcoming passengers along with Mayor-Elect Levine Cava before a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
Soon enough, in a standard WN quick turnaround time flight 324 to HOU was boarding and we headed down to the ramp to catch the departure.
At the conference Mr. Goldberg praised the 55 new WN employees at MIA while Mr. Sola highlighted that “the thousands of jobs that WN will provide [the] community must be recognized”.
The service is expected to bring in USD$853m in local business revenue and an expected 6,788 jobs in the local economy.
Some of the WN employees displayed the same banners they waved to flight 324 upon arrival, highlighting the beneficial economic impact, both direct and indirect that WN is bringing to Miami-Dade County amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Water Cannon Salute
At last, we were treated to a water cannon salute, with Miami Dade Fire Rescue hosing down the Boeing 737-700 aircraft as she taxiied for departure.
As a Miami resident and a native-born Houstonian, I am glad that WN has chosen MIA for route expansion amid the pandemic, both increasing connectivity and competition in service out of South Florida, ultimately helping the paying passenger.
Featured image: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 reg: N928WN Photo: Brent Foster – @5starflight