Southwest Exec Expects Lower Fares Overall in Memphis

Southwest Exec Expects Lower Fares Overall in Memphis

Cheaper flights out of Memphis are only a few months away. Southwest will offer four new direct flights out of Memphis on AirTran in August. Anytime Southwest joins a market, flight prices drop dramatically; Mid-South travelers hope that's the case at Memphis International.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Cheaper flights out of Memphis are only a few months away. Southwest will offer four new direct flights out of Memphis on AirTran in August. Anytime Southwest joins a market, flight prices drop dramatically; Mid-South travelers hope that's the case at Memphis International.

In 2011, Southwest Airlines served more than 92 million bags of peanuts to passengers, but not one of those bags was in Memphis.

"We hope to be able to serve those to y'all relatively soon," joked Wally Devereaux, the Director of Cargo Sales for Southwest Airlines. He spoke to the Traffic Club of Memphis Tuesday about the future of Southwest cargo and passenger divisions in Memphis.

"Typically what you'll see when Southwest Airlines does enter a market you'll see a reduction in fares. That's a typical effect."

Last week the low cost airline announced that beginning in August, it will offer four direct flights to Chicago, Orlando and Baltimore from Memphis. The flights will be run through AirTran until the Southwest aircraft arrive by the end of the year.

Traffic Club of Memphis President, Mason Wilson, told abc24.com, "It seems to me like it is a loosening of the market and some different players coming into the market."

The four new flights are a test to see how the Memphis market responds.

"It's a very low margin business, so when you put flights into a market those flights need to be profitable, so that's certainly what we hope and expect will happen here in Memphis," Devereaux said.

Since Devereaux is on the cargo side of the airline company, he doesn't know their plans for expansion. When asked about plans for flights to the west coast he replied, "At least you'll have one stop service to California through Chicago, if anything, when that starts. So that's not a bad start. So, who knows what the future will hold."

Devereaux says when the Southwest carriers get to Memphis, the planes will feature leather seats, Wi-Fi, free checked bags and live TV.
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