On June 7, 2021, the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA) celebrated the return of Southwest Airlines (SWA) at the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN) with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and reception.
After seven years, SWA officially restarted services at JAN on Sunday, June 6 to kick-off its six flights a day on Saturdays and Sundays and seven weekday Boeing 737 flights. The much-anticipated return provides travelers with nonstop routes to Orlando, FL (MCO); Baltimore-Washington (BWI); Houston-Hobby, TX (HOU); and Atlanta, GA (ATL), allowing connections or same-plane service to more than 80 Southwest destinations.
The ceremony was well-attended by Southwest officials, JMAA business and civic leaders; federal, state, and local governmental dignitaries; as well as members of the media.
“It’s a great day in Jackson, Mississippi today, and we are thrilled to be here to celebrate such a significant investment in this great city,” stated Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba. “As we emerge from Covid-19, we continue to focus on job growth, and sincerely thank Southwest for hiring and training our citizens.”
“As travelers begin returning to the sky, we’re looking forward to returning to Jackson and welcoming new and current Southwest customers back with our world-famous hospitality, low fares, and flexible policies,” said Chris Johnson, Southwest’s Vice President of Ground Operations. “Today’s celebration is particularly special as ‘The City with Soul’ has welcomed us back with open arms just a few days shy of a major company milestone: our 50th birthday.”
Johnson continued, “Whether traveling for business or leisure, our teams are ready to reciprocate the hospitality by sharing their love of connecting travelers to the people and places important in their lives with the iconic ‘Heart’ that makes Southwest stand apart from other airlines.”
JMAA Chairman Robert E. Martin addressed the assembled group. “We set out on a serious mission to bring this great carrier back to our capital city. Welcome back to our hometown, Southwest, and we intend on partnering with you here for decades to come.”
“This journey began seven years ago and it kicked into high gear some ten months ago, engaging personally with top Southwest leadership. To the Southwest team, please feel at home in Jackson, and we look forward to your success for many years to come,” said LaWanda D. Harris, Vice-Chairwoman of JMAA.
“This is a big win for Jackson,” stated Paul A. Brown, JMAA CEO. “Southwest will continue the positive trajectory that we have right now, and there is no airline better equipped to do that. Nearly 30,000 aircraft seats just from Southwest every month will certainly have a positive impact on this community and the surrounding area!”
One year into COVID-19, the JMAA has seen a steady increase in air travel at JAN. In 2019, JAN had between 24-25 daily flights, but that fell to as few as 4 daily departures last spring. This summer, JAN will host 30 or more daily flights, a phenomenal achievement coming out of the pandemic. JAN is ready to safely reconnect you to the world this summer.