Southwest Airlines Enters Puerto Rican Market

Southwest Airlines has confirmed it will introduce its first services outside of Continental USA when it takes over responsibility for flying two of its sister carrier, AirTran Airways, existing flights from San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Puerto Rico.  The low-cost carrier will introduce its own branded flying from April 14, 2013 initially on routes to Orlando and Tampa.

AirTran has been serving San Juan since March 2008 and also operates flights to Baltimore/Washington, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, and Atlanta.  These destinations will continue to be served by the carrier while Southwest continues with its planned integration strategy.  It says the carrier “soon will determine the best time to convert the remaining AirTran flying to Southwest as part of the ongoing integration to eventually become one airline flying under the Southwest brand”.

"Southwest celebrates San Juan, Puerto Rico, as our first venture beyond the continental United States," said Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Southwest Airlines and President, AirTran Airways.  "AirTran has done a wonderful job establishing a presence in this market, and Southwest is proud to continue that legacy and extend our vast network of destinations, exceptional Customer Service, and convenient low fares to the San Juan community."

AirTran currently operates around 250 flights a month from San Juan with over 30,000 available seats.  This represents a 9.0 per cent share of the total seat capacity from the Puerto Rican airport, a figure that will rise when Southwest introduces its larger Boeing 737-800s on its operated flights, replacing the smaller 737-700s of AirTran.  

"We are excited about Southwest's arrival into Puerto Rico and it is an honor to be Southwest's first destination outside the continental United States,” said Luis G Rivera Marin, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism.  “The Puerto Rico Tourism Company and all Puerto Rican travelers welcome this new carrier to our Island and know that this new service will provide great opportunities for growth into the airline's robust network, and great connectivity to the west coast markets in the US."