Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport welcomes Southwest Airlines, flights begin


OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Southwest Airlines has touched down in Okaloosa County.

The Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) celebrated the arrival of its inaugural Southwest flight from Dallas Thursday afternoon. It was announced in February Southwest Airlines would be joining the airport.

“We’ve got six daily flights starting so that includes … one to Baltimore, three to Nashville, and two to Dallas, so that’s effective today,” said Bill Tierney, vice president of marketing for Southwest Airlines. “First day of service and we couldn’t be more excited to be here.”

Dozens of local community leaders gathered for a ceremony Thursday celebrating the airport’s achievement in adding Southwest Airlines to its list of carriers.

“After 15 years, we landed the big one,” said Tracy Stage, the airport’s director. “The number one carrier in the U.S.”

Stage said adding Southwest Airlines would be great for local tourism and the economy.

“It’s a monumental win for the citizens, the business and the industry in Okaloosa County,” Stage said.

The airport was buzzing Thursday afternoon with tourists excited to relax on the beaches in Okaloosa County. Southwest Airlines sees the area as a major vacation destination, which led the carrier to sign on at VPS.

“Well if you’ve been to the beaches, you’d know,” Tierney said. “It’s got all the things that people are looking for in a vacation.”

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