Today marks five years of Southwest Airlines in Wichita. On June 2, 2013, LUV came to ICT bringing their low fares, comfy 737 aircraft and outstanding customer service. Southwest originally started service in Wichita with two daily flights to Dallas Love Field, two daily flights to Chicago Midway, and one daily flight to Las Vegas.
In April 2016, Southwest discontinued service to Dallas and Chicago due to insufficient passenger traffic and replaced those with nonstop service to Phoenix and St. Louis. With one daily flight to Phoenix and Las Vegas each, and two daily flights to St. Louis, Southwest gives Wichita low-fare access to the west and east.
Since its start of service, Southwest has boarded over 721,000 passengers from ICT.
Southwest at ICT
Comparing first quarter 2016 (before Southwest’s Phoenix and St. Louis routes) to first quarter 2017, Southwest has had a dramatic effect to fares and passengers.
Phoenix: In Q1 2016, the Phoenix route saw $199 average fares and boarded 4,143 passengers. In Q1 2017, this route saw $152 average fares and 7,702 passengers resulting in a 24% decrease in average fare and 86% higher ridership from 2016 to 2017.
St. Louis: In Q1 2016, the St. Louis route saw $146 average fares and boarded 1,759 passengers. In Q1 2017, this route saw $101 fares and 4,536 passengers resulting in a 31% decrease in average fare and 158% higher ridership from 2016 to 2017.
Southwest Airlines is the low-fare leader in Wichita and impacts fares to the most destinations. Below is the average domestic fare in Wichita of all of our airlines, comparing the fourth quarters of 2016 and 2017:
- Allegiant* – $70.20
- American – $244.05
- Delta – $241.43
- Southwest – $145.84
- United – $253.11
- Alaska** – $194.13
- Allegiant* – $64.44
- American – $242.40
- Delta – $252.85
- Southwest – $141.14
- United – $247.24
*Allegiant is an ultra low-cost carrier which unbundles all fees.
**Alaska began service April 2017.
Southwest’s latest schedule is published through January 6. Southwest’s fares and schedules can only be found at southwest.com.
Happy anniversary, Southwest!