Seven Years in the Making: SWA Returns to JAN

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is front-and-center for a ribbon cutting for Southwest Airlines’ return to Jackson-Evers International Airport on Monday, June 7, 2021.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is back at Jackson-Medgar Evers International Airport, offering seven daily flights, including non-stop service to Atlanta, Houston and Baltimore-Washington International Airport, with weekend non-stops to Orlando.

The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA) welcomed the carrier today with a ribbon-cutting featuring airport officials and Southwest Airlines, State of Mississippi and City of Jackson leadership, among others.

Paul Brown, Jackson Municipal Airport Authority CEO, said there’d been a longing for the airline to return after a nearly decade-long absence.

“When I arrived in early 2020, I couldn’t go anywhere with someone saying, ‘You’re that new airport guy, aren’t you? When are you going to get Southwest back?'”

Brown credits the JMAA board of directors for courting the carrier’s return.

“We’re happy to provide choices, but even more important, we’re happy to give the people of Jackson and the people of Mississippi what they want,” Brown said. “And they want their Southwest and, by god, they’re going to have it.”

JMAA Board Chairman Robert Martin said Mississippi was previously the only state in the south without SWA service. “Our intent,” he said, “is to keep them for the next upcoming decades. This is a day that goes down in history. We’ve got some choices now.”

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba noted that Southwest’s return is a testament to the airline’s vision.

“This represents more than rental fees and landing fees,” he said. “It has a multiplier effect across our city in terms of employment and ancillary benefits for suppliers who support this airline partner,” additionally thanking Southwest for hiring Jacksonians.

Chris Johnson, Vice President of Ground Operations for Southwest, said connections to 82 additional destinations complement the initial schedule of seven daily direct flights.

“You can get there with a connection on a one-stop service flight and you won’t have to transfer planes,” he added.

Johnson also touted an all-737 fleet (no regional jets), no baggage fees for the first two bags, no change fees and “the hospitality that has made us famous.” He said, “We’re ready to reciprocate the hospitality we have felt here in Jackson.”

The Jackson-Evers Airport offers 30 daily flights, up from 27 per day during a record-breaking 2019 that saw one million passengers through the terminal.

Earlier this month:

Celebrating its 50th year of service, Southwest boasts a robust network of point-to-point service with a strong presence across top leisure and business markets. In peak travel seasons during 2019, Southwest operated more than 4,000-weekday departures among a network of 101 destinations in the United States and ten additional countries, adding 17 additional destinations to its route map last November, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jet.