Southwest Airlines has honored the State of Florida with the unveiling of Florida One, a Boeing 737 emblazoned with an artist’s rendering of the state flag. Southwest Airlines’ top Leadership celebrated the high-flying tribute to the State of Florida at an event in a Tampa International Airport hangar with National Wildlife Refuge Association President Evan Hirsche, and Southwest’s Florida-based Employees.
“We are thrilled to honor Florida with this beautiful aircraft; it is truly a demonstration of our dedication to Florida and a tribute to our more than 2,500 hard-working Florida Employees,” said Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO Gary Kelly. “Our pride for Florida will fly high over the 68 cities Southwest serves.”
Since beginning service to Florida in January of 1996, Southwest Airlines has grown from 17 daily nonstop departures to 284 daily nonstop departures. Southwest now carries 20 percent of all air traffic to the state of Florida. Southwest Airlines will begin service to its seventh Florida city, Panama City Beach, on 23rd May, 2010.
More than 200 Southwest Airlines Employees and community leaders celebrated the unveiling today at Tampa Airport. Following the unveiling event in Tampa, the aircraft began a tour of the airline’s Florida cities. At each stop, the airline will host a celebratory event in the Southwest gate area to display the aircraft to Employees and Customers.
“Florida is proud to have such a strong Southwest Airlines presence in Florida,” said Governor Charlie Crist. “Not only is Southwest employing thousands of talented Floridians, but is also making Florida more easily accessible and affordable for visitors. I am grateful for their continued commitment to Florida.”