US low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines has announced it will close its operations at Branson Airport (BKG), Key West International Airport (EYW) and Jackson-Evers International Airport (JAN) from June 7, 2014 due to low passenger demand.
"Unfortunately, the level of local demand no longer allows Southwest to profitably serve these markets," said Bob Jordan, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Southwest Airlines. "Southwest takes pride in becoming not only a great choice for air travel in the cities we serve, but we also become a member of the community. These decisions are never easy."
The airline first introduced flights to Jackson-Evers International in 1997 and over the past ten years has been offering flights to Baltimore Washington International, Chicago Midway, Houston Hobby, Orlando International firmly establishing itself as one of the largest operators at the Mississippi facility. According to MIDT data it carried an estimated 371,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew on its flights to and from the airport in 2012, a 29.8 per cent share of the total traffic. Although it had no direct competition on its route pairs at Jackson-Evers International, air services to the wider Chicago, Houston and Washington markets were served by feeder affiliates of the US majors.
The markets of Branson and Key West International are relative newcomers to the Southwest network and were only introduced in 2012 as part of its integration with AirTran Airways. The airline currently serves Chicago Midway, Dallas Love Field, Houston Hobby, Orlando International from Branson and New Orleans, Orlando International and Tampa International from Key West International.