Southwest returns to Denver

It’s been a long time since Southwest Airlines touched down in Denver. When it did, the airport was the old Stapleton International. Now, Southwest is headed back to the lee of the Rocky Mountains in a very big way.

“Denver is a market that has been a significant gap in Southwest’s system for many years,” says Gary Kelly, the discount airline’s chief executive officer. “We can now connect Denver customers into our coast-to-coast operations.”

January 3, 2006 the Southwest inaugurates service from Denver International Airport on the far outskirts of the Mile High City. Initially, there will be 13 daily departures.

Here’s the line-up:

– four daily flights to Chicago’s close-in Midway Airport;
– five daily flights to Las Vegas;
– and, four daily flights to Phoenix.

By choosing these destinations, the discount airline multiplies connection opportunities for passengers. Consider: Southwest will offer either direct or connecting service to 36 other destinations, including Baltimore/Washington, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Seattle/Tacoma, and Pittsburgh.

If history is any indicator, Southwest’s rates on these routes could well influence other airfares out of Denver International. Southwest’s One-way, 21-day advance purchase fare to Chicago Midway is $79. Advance purchase airfares to Phoenix and Las Vegas start at $59.

Right now, United Airlines and Frontier Airlines are the prime players at the nation’s most expansive airport, an airport that occupies a land mass larger than Manhattan Island.

Southwest will field its flights from a pair of gates on Concourse C. That’s the farthest flung of the airport’s three concourses, and is accessible only via train from the Jeppesen Terminal.

Denver International Airport’s most popular concourse is A. That’s because it’s accessible from the Jeppesen Terminal via either train, or a convenient walkway. Concourse A is home to Frontier Airlines, which—heretofore—has been United’s prime competition out of Denver.

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