PALM BEACH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT WELCOMES NEW, DAILY NONSTOP SERVICE VIA SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FROM PIT

02/14/2013

PALM BEACH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT WELCOMES NEW, DAILY NONSTOP SERVICE VIA SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FROM PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT


- New seasonal service commences on Valentine's Day with chance to win a Palm Beach Getaway-


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2013) - This Valentine's Day brings a new reason to love Southwest Airlines, as February 14 marks the commencement of the first daily nonstop flights between West Palm Beach (PBI) and Pittsburgh (PIT). The long-anticipated seasonal service is already proving to be a great asset among travelers, with a completely full first flight coming into West Palm Beach.


"The launch of the inaugural flight from Pittsburgh provides a great opportunity for our friends in Pennsylvania to experience The Palm Beaches," said Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Jorge Pesquera. "There is plenty of time to enjoy the exciting events of our destination's 'high season', such as world-class polo, renowned art and antique shows, and the Honda Classic, to name only a few, all taking place under the warm Florida sun."


The new Southwest flight departs PIT at 6:55 a.m. and arrives PBI 9:30 a.m. daily. It then departs PBI at 12:30 p.m. and arrives at PIT at 3p.m. The seasonal flight will terminate on April 13, 2013. Tickets can be booked at southwest.com.


"We are always thrilled to add new service to our seasonal route schedule here at PBI, because we know it means that more people in more key markets will have the opportunity to experience the warm and pleasant winters of The Palm Beaches here in South Florida," said Palm Beach County Director of Airports Bruce Pelly.


"This is a natural linkage in our growing network and we're excited to build on our strong presence in both Pittsburgh and West Palm Beach," said Mike Gillock, Southwest's Station Leader in Pittsburgh. "To offer nonstop service on the route with Southwest's Legendary Customer Service, including Bags Fly Free and No Change Fee Brand differences gives everyone something extra to LUV this Valentine's Day!"


To celebrate the flight's commencement, the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau has partnered with Southwest Airlines, and the Allegheny County Airport Authority to launch a sweepstakes for a chance to win a getaway to The Palm Beaches. The sweepstakes winner will receive roundtrip airfare for two and a three-night stay at PGA National Resort & Spa, one of The Palm Beaches' top luxury resorts. Southwest has contributed the tickets and PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens has sponsored the accommodations. The winner will also receive a VIP package experience courtesy of the Palm Beach Kennel Club, a greyhound racing, poker, simulcast action & dining entertainment facility owned and operated by the Rooney Family, owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Blackout dates may apply and are subject to change without notice. For more information go toFlyPittsburgh.com.


"Our region's travelers love to fly to southern Florida for Spring Break. This seasonal daily service from Pittsburgh to West Palm Beach will give travelers another competitive choice in making their travel plans. We are pleased to see that Southwest has added a new destination in Pittsburgh," said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.


"The Airport Authority is thrilled to be able to share in the announcement. Our customers have clamored for this flight to return. Southwest has agreed with us that the regional demand for this market is very strong," said David Minnotte, Chairman, Allegheny County Airport Authority.


The Palm Beach County Convention and Visitor's Bureau emphasizes the importance of new airlift as a contributor to the overall impact the tourism industry brings to Palm Beach County. This seasonal flight has the potential to bring thousands of new visitors to The Palm Beaches each year to add to the more than five million visitors it currently sees annually. Using the hypothetical example of how 10 percent more visitors would impact the local economy, the CVB points out that such an increase would result in:

  • A five and one-half percent increase in hotel occupancy
  • $550 million in additional visitor spending
  • $42 million additional hotel room revenue
  • 5,000 new jobs (that cannot be outsourced)
  • $82 million in additional state and local taxes
  • $2.1 million in additional bed tax revenues

CVB officials emphasized that, due to tourism's impact, each Palm Beach County resident saves an average of $890 in property and other taxes per year, and Florida does not impose a state income tax on its workforce.


About Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau:

The Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for Palm Beach County, Fla., with a mission to increase visitation, deliver a one of a kind visitor experience, and contribute to the overall economic development in Palm Beach County. Operating as a non-profit organization, the CVB executes marketing and sales strategies to support Palm Beach County's very critical tourism industry, which annually welcomes approximately five million visitors, supports 45,000 industry jobs, and generates an economic impact of $5 billion in the local economy, and whose contributions on a state level help keep Floridians unburdened by a state income tax.


About Southwest Airlines Co.:

In its 42nd year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by nearly 46,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating passengers boarded, and including wholly-owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways, operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 97 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and six near-international countries. Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line thinking that takes into account the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of the People who work there and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the Planet. The 2011 Southwest Airlines One ReportTMcan be found at southwest.com/citizenship.


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Media Contact:

Carli Smith/Palm Beach CVB Maria Hayworth/Hayworth Creative PR csmith@PalmBeachFl.com/561-233-3030 maria@hayworthcreative.com/386-677-7000


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