Southwest Begins Air Service to Pensacola

Southwest Begins Air Service to Pensacola

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PENSACOLA, Florida -

As soon as the wheels of the Southwest Boeing 737 touched down, it was air travelers in Northwest Florida and Southeast Alabama that scored. 

"We've been in love with Pensacola for going on 20 years and 20 years ago we didn't have a network that could support service into Pensacola," says Southwest vice-president Bob Montgomery.

That changed with the merger of Southwest and Air Tran. "It's huge for Pensacola," says mayor Ashton Hayward. "It's huge for our region the gulf coast. We worked very hard to get Southwest here."

A water cannon salute welcomed the inaugural flight from Nashville. The airline will make two flights to the music city daily and one to Houston. Airline vice-president Bob Montgomery says that's just the beginning. "We have 96 destinations nationwide. You'll be able to connect to 69 of those destinations from Pensacola."

Right now Southwest is only flying three flights a day coming in and out of Pensacola International Airport but that means three thousand people coming in and out of this area a week and they are hoping that number will build.

"We want more routes with Southwest and as Mr. Montgomery touched on with the international side," says Hayward.

"If the customers want it we're going to deliver it just as fast as we can," says Montgomery.

An airline that doesn't charge for baggage or changing plans may just cash in on a market ready to take off.

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