Southwest Airlines and Mineta San Jose International Airport – A 25-Year LUV Story

Southwest Airlines logo
Mineta San Jose International Airport logo

-- Silver Anniversary Gift to SJC Travelers is Nonstop Service to Tucson, and More Flights to Portland, Oregon and Orange County --

San Jose, Calif. – It was June 1, 1993, when Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) and Southwest Airlines® tied the knot. The carrier launched 11 flights to two cities on that date as it began what has become a long-time partnership with SJC. Today, Southwest delivered a silver anniversary gift to SJC travelers with the announcement of the airline’s 25th destination available nonstop from San Jose with service to Tucson, Arizona, and that it will end this year offering 99 departures a day with two more frequencies each to Portland, Oregon and Orange County, Calif., all to begin Nov. 4, 2018. Book flights now at Southwest.com.

Airport and Southwest staff will commemorate their 25-year partnership this weekend with festive decorations at the airline’s ticket counter and gates, celebratory messages on in-terminal monitors and social media channels, and with on-site celebrations for employees.

“It’s an incredible milestone to be celebrating 25 years of Southwest Airlines service at Silicon Valley’s airport,” said Director of Aviation John Aitken. “Southwest and I both joined SJC in 1993, with the airline offering two cities - Burbank and Las Vegas - and me beginning my career as an entry-level Operations Specialist.

“We’ve come a long way since then, as Southwest is now SJC’s largest carrier and with my recent promotion to leading the Airport team and our many partners as we work together to transform how Silicon Valley travels,” continued Aitken. It’s been an incredible journey and partnership, and we all look forward to working with Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, his leadership and the airline’s local SJC team over the next 25 years to continue to bring low fares, more daily nonstop destinations, and convenient flight times to Silicon Valley travelers.”

“We’ve strived to offer a business-friendly schedule from that first timetable in 1993, and we’re still bolstering that, while adding more leisure options for our loyal Customers to travel more quickly to Florida, Mexico, and soon between San Jose and Hawaii,” said Andrew Watterson, Southwest Exec. Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer. “Our policies allow for flexibility, a must-have differentiator when doing business in Silicon Valley. While other carriers have fallen in and out of love with the region, our LUV affair faithfully hits the 25-year milestone on a high note!”

The 25-year LUV story between SJC and Southwest began with two past leaders who recognized the importance of joining their respective organizations. The so-called "Southwest Effect" was a motivator for now-retired Ralph Tonseth who served as SJC’s Director of Aviation from 1990 to 2005, and was focused on bringing low-cost air service to the South Bay and its fledging high-tech community.

"Everyone wanted to be a Southwest airport as the airline offered low fares, and fun and relaxed service onboard to many destinations where people wanted to fly," recalled Tonseth via telephone this week from his Lincoln, Calif. retirement community.  "The traveling community was in favor of Southwest at SJC and our passengers warmly welcomed and loved the service the airline offered."

Also recognizing the importance of this partnership was Southwest’s Herb Kelleher, then-Chairman, President and CEO. In his personal message in the company’s 1993 Annual Report, he said “The new cities that we added to our route system during 1993 - San Jose, Louisville and Baltimore - have each been very rewarding for Southwest and each will receive more of our service in 1994."

The rest is history, as they say.  Southwest’s service has continued to blossom at SJC, both nationally and internationally since that time. The carrier has grown to be SJC’s largest airline with 99 daily nonstop departures to these 25 cities:  Albuquerque, Austin, Baltimore/Washington, Boise, Burbank, Cabo San Lucas, Chicago/Midway, Dallas/Love Field, Denver, Houston-Hobby, Las Vegas, Los Angeles/LAX, New Orleans, Ontario, Orange County/Santa Ana, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Reno, Saint Louis, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle, Spokane and Tucson.

Southwest also recently announced its intention to offer Hawaii service from SJC with tickets expected to be sold this year.

Southwest directly employs more than 300 people at SJC.
                                                                      

About Southwest Airlines Co.
In its 47th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 57,000 Employees to a Customer base topping 120 million passengers annually, in recent years. Southwest became the nation’s largest domestic air carrier in 2003 and maintains that ranking based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent reporting of domestic originating passengers boarded. During peak travel seasons, Southwest operates more than 4,000 weekday departures among a network of 100 destinations in the United States and 10 additional countries. Southwest has announced its intention to sell tickets in 2018 for service to Hawaii, subject to requisite governmental approvals.


SJC: Transforming How Silicon Valley Travels
Mineta San José International Airport (SJC) is Silicon Valley’s airport, a self‐supporting enterprise owned and operated by the City of San José. The airport serves 13 million passengers annually, with 210 peak daily departures on 16 international and domestic carriers to 54 nonstop destinations. SJC has been America’s fastest‐growing major airport over the past two years, based on percentage increase in passenger seat capacity. For more airport information, visit flysanjose.com.
                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             - (SJC + SWA = LUV) -