Southwest Airlines Landing at EUG
Inaugural festivities commenced on Sunday, August 29th, to welcome Southwest Airlines to the Southern Willamette Valley, including a ceremonial water salute and gifts for passengers on the first scheduled Southwest flights at the Eugene Airport.
“We’re thrilled to become part of the Southwest Airlines family,” said Cathryn Stephens, A.A.E., Acting Airport Director at the Eugene Airport. “We look forward whole-heartedly to the “Southwest Effect” taking hold in our area, benefiting our local passengers and broader regional community.”
The “Southwest Effect” is a phenomenon in which markets that Southwest Airlines enters enjoy a decrease in average airfares and an increase in passengers.
With 41% of local passengers currently driving out of the area to utilize other airports, the addition of Southwest Airlines is anticipated to improve passenger retention at the Eugene Airport.
Studies have shown flying local, by reducing highway trips to an airport further away, is a more environmentally sustainable choice. “Southwest Airlines’ arrival in Eugene brings our low-fare service, unique value, and worldfamous Hospitality to Track Town USA, and gives local travelers who live across Central Oregon faster access to what we offer,” said Adam Decaire, Vice President of Network Planning for Southwest Airlines. “With nonstop service between the Emerald City and both Las Vegas and Oakland, the depth of our schedule puts Southern California, Arizona, Hawaii, and more than 60 cities within faster reach.”
Southwest Airlines will start service at EUG with daily flights to Las Vegas and twice-daily flights to Oakland, with hopes that nonstop routes will expand to include additional destinations in the future.
Multiple community partners were involved in the Southwest Airlines recruitment earlier this year including the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Travel Lane County, Onward Eugene, Mead & Hunt, City of Eugene, City of Springfield, Lane County Government, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Technology Association of Oregon, Business Oregon, and the Governor’s Regional Solutions Office.
More than 50 private businesses and elected officials wrote letters of support, pledging to Fly Local, Fly EUG!