Southwest Airlines is pulling the plug on the Vehicle City.
After five years of servicing Flint, the airline will discontinue flights at Bishop International Airport in June, 2018, according to a spokesperson.
"Southwest worked diligently with us over the last five years to find the right combination of service to offer our community. Ultimately, Southwest came to the difficult business decision to no longer serve Flint’s Bishop International Airport," a statement from Bishop Airport said.
Southwest is one of Bishop’s five airlines.
Their daily service to Chicago-Midway will end on June 6, 2018.
The following is a full statement from Bishop International Airport: Flint was very fortunate to be able to keep Southwest Airlines in the market after their acquisition of AirTran Airways in 2012. They have been a wonderful partner, maintaining service to our region by adjusting their airline model to suit a smaller city. Southwest worked diligently with us over the last 5 years to find the right combination of service to offer our community. Ultimately, Southwest came to the difficult business decision to no longer serve Flint’s Bishop International Airport. Their daily service to Chicago-Midway will end on June 6, 2018.
While this is disheartening news, the reduction will not limit access to these key regions for our travelers. Flint Bishop passengers will still be able to enjoy nonstop service to Chicago-O’Hare with American Airlines and United Airlines. Additionally, Allegiant serves Orlando/Sanford, Punta Gorda/Ft. Myers and Tampa Bay/St. Pete nonstop.
Our four remaining airlines give Bishop International Airport customers access to all of the global airlines alliances, as well as the ultra-low fare network of Allegiant. Allegiant’s leisure only-low cost model has proven to be an excellent fit for the demographics of our region. We look forward to their continued growth in Flint.
Flint Bishop offers the lowest average airfares in the state, as well as a hassle-free, convenient airport experience. Moving forward, the airport will continue to work with our current airline partners, and potential new partners, to increase seating capacity for our community.David Greshem is a frequent flyer and uses Bishop airport quite often. He said picking an airline can be a hassle, except when he uses Southwest.
"Well, their pricing is good compared to the other ones. And their schedules were good. I'll be disappointed because I alternated back and forth from Allegiant and Southwest," Greshem said.
Pat Corfman, director of marketing and public relations for Bishop, explained why she thinks Southwest is choosing to leave Flint.
"I just think that Flint doesn't really work with the different route strategies that they have tried for us. What works for them as an airline doesn't work so well for us as an airport," Corfman said.
Corfman said the airport is already looking for a replacement for Southwest.
"We've got seven months to try and find a replacement or increase service from another guy or try and get another airline. I mean, that's a lot of time," Corfman said. "There are other airlines that we know that are interested in Flint. And perhaps with the exit of Southwest, they'll be willing to take a stronger look at us again."
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