Southwest Airlines announced Thursday the start of new service between the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina to Orlando and Tampa Bay, Florida starting April 2013.
The carrier is taking over for AirTran, which it acquired in May 2011 and once in service, Puerto Rico will become Southwest’s first market served outside the continental United States, a high-ranking company official said.
Starting next year, Southwest will operate three daily nonstop flights between Orlando and San Juan and one daily nonstop flight between Tampa Bay and San Juan, as the carrier transitions these routes from AirTran-operated city pairs.
To mark the new San Juan service, Southwest announced a fare sale of $99 one-way between these markets, which must be booked through its website.
“Southwest celebrates San Juan, Puerto Rico, as our first venture beyond the continental United States,” said Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President and AirTran Airways President Bob Jordan.
“AirTran has done a wonderful job establishing a presence in this market, and Southwest is proud to continue that legacy and extend our vast network of destinations, exceptional customer service, and convenient low fares to the San Juan community,” he said.
During the conversion, AirTran will continue to offer service between San Juan and Baltimore/Washington, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, and Atlanta.
“Southwest soon will determine the best time to convert the remaining AirTran flying to Southwest as part of the ongoing integration to eventually become one airline flying under the Southwest brand,” the company said.
“We are excited about Southwest’s arrival into Puerto Rico to offer its legendary Customer Service,” Tourism Company Executive Director Luis Rivera-Marín. “It is an honor to be Southwest’s first destination outside the continental United States.”
“The Puerto Rico Tourism Company and all Puerto Rican travelers welcome this new carrier to our osland and know that this new service will provide great opportunities for growth into the airline’s robust network, and great connectivity to the west coast markets in the U.S.,” he added.
AirTran began service at San Juan in March 2008 with service to Orlando and Atlanta. Customers who booked flights between San Juan and Tampa Bay or San Juan and Orlando for travel beginning April 14, 2013, or later will be contacted by the airline and rebooked on Southwest flights.