Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) today inaugurated service between South Florida and Cuba with the scheduled 11:00 a.m. EST departure of Southwest Flight 3914 to Varadero (VRA) from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). 143 Passengers and a Crew of five Southwest Employees donned Cuban-style hats as the aircraft departed to an orchestra playing Caribbean music and a drumroll by renowned bandleader Tito Puente, Jr.
"Our Employees have worked hard to open this route and a new chapter for people who want to connect with Cuba in ways that matter most to them," said Steve Goldberg, Southwest Airlines' Vice President of Ground Operations who is also Southwest's executive ambassador to Florida. Goldberg also announced Southwest intends to begin once daily service from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara, Cuba (SNU) on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, subject to requisite approvals of the Cuban government. "By the end of this year, we'll offer six daily roundtrips between two Florida gateways and three Cuban cities as the work continues to open a new, five-gate international concourse here in Fort Lauderdale next summer."
In celebration of the announcement of new service to Santa Clara, Southwest is offering a special fare of $59 one-way* on nonstop flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Santa Clara (14-day advance purchase required, today through Nov. 20, 2016, 11:59 p.m. in the time zone of the originating city for travel Dec. 15, 2016, through April 24, 2017). Please see below for valid travel days and complete terms & conditions. Check Southwest.com/Cuba for requirements regarding travel to Cuba and date-specific flight schedules for daily nonstop and other published connecting service.
On Oct.13, Southwest announced its flight schedule of new nonstop service between Florida and both Varadero and Havana. Cuba is the ninth country served by Southwest, with Havana marking a historic 100th destination. Service between Havana (HAV) and both Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Tampa International Airport (TPA) begins Dec. 12, 2016, subject to requisite approvals of the Cuban government. Southwest street teams surprised residents with $100 Southwest Gift Cards across both greater Fort Lauderdale and Tampa Bay to spread awareness of the new routes. The carrier's social media community followed the day's events through hashtag #Southwest100.
The carrier continues to plan for available seat mile (ASM) growth in the 5-6 percent range in 2016.
*FARE TERMS & CONDITIONS
14-day advance purchase required. Fares available for purchase today through Nov. 20, 2016,11:59 p.m. in the time zone of the originating city for travel Dec. 15, 2016, through April 24, 2017. Fares are valid only on nonstop service. Displayed prices include all U.S. and international government taxes and fees. If traveling to Cuba, fares include Cuban Government mandatory health insurance. Rapid Rewards® Points bookings do not include taxes, fees, and other government/airport charges of at least $5.60 per one way flight. Seats and days are limited. Fares may vary by destination, flight, and day of week and won't be available on some flights that operate during very busy travel times and holiday periods. Travel is available for one-way Wanna Get Away® fares. Fares may be combined with other Southwest Airlines® combinable fares. If combining fares, the most restrictive fare rules apply. Sale fares may be available on other days of week, but that's not guaranteed. Fares are nonrefundable but may be applied toward future travel on Southwest®, as long as reservations are canceled at least ten minutes prior to scheduled departure. Failure to cancel prior to departure will result in forfeiture of remaining funds on the reservation. Any change in itinerary may result in an increase in fare. Standby travel requires travelers who are not Rapid Rewards® A-List or A-List Preferred Members to upgrade to the Anytime fare. Fares are subject to change until ticketed. Offer applies only to published, scheduled service. Every passenger traveling to Cuba must certify that they are eligible to travel to Cuba under one of 12 general license categories, a specific license, or as a Cuban National.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Specific forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements related to the Company's anticipated service offerings and fares and network and capacity plans, opportunities, and expectations. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them. Factors include, among others, (i) the impact of economic conditions, consumer behavior, fuel prices, actions of competitors (including without limitation pricing, scheduling, and capacity decisions and consolidation and alliance activities), and other factors beyond the Company's control, on the Company's business decisions, plans, and strategies; (ii) the impact of governmental regulations and other governmental actions related to the Company's operations; and (iii) other factors, as described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the detailed factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2015.
ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
In its 46th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 53,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest operates more than 3,900 departures a day during peak travel season across a network of 99 destinations in the United States and eight additional countries with additional Cuba service to Havana, Cuba, beginning Dec. 12, 2016, and Santa Clara beginning Dec. 15, 2016, both routes subject to governmental approvals.
Based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's most recent data, Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. The Company operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world, the majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi providing gate-to-gate connectivity. That connectivity enables Customers to use their personal devices to view video on-demand movies and television shows, as well as nearly 20 channels of free, live TV compliments of our valued Partners. Southwest created Transfarency®, a philosophy which treats Customers honestly and fairly, and in which low fares actually stay low. Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer bags fly free® to everyone (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply, some airlines may allow free checked bags on select routes or for qualified circumstances), and there are no change fees, though fare differences might apply. The airline proudly unveiled a bold new look: Heart. A new logo, aircraft livery, interior design featuring a new seat and Flight Attendant galley, Employee-designed uniforms, and an updated airport experience all showcase the dedication of Southwest Employees who connect Customers with what's important in their lives.
From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as "The Southwest Effect," a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic whenever the carrier enters new markets. With 43 consecutive years of profitability, Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for a triple bottom line approach that contributes to the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities they serve, and an overall commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2015 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at SouthwestOneReport.com.
Book Southwest Airlines' low fares online at Southwest.com or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.
SOURCE Southwest Airlines Co.