Des Moines airport begins flying Southwest Airlines

Tracy Robinson

Des Moines airport just gained a new a member. As of Sept. 30, Southwest Airlines has started serving customers at the Des Moines airport in what they call the AirTran Airways.

Southwest Airlines will only be having one route from the airport. That route will be to Chicago’s Midway Airport and having two flights per day.

Southwest’s hope is to cause prices to become competitive between the different airline companies and, therefore, cheaper for their customers.

This arrangement, however, might not last long. Southwest has a lease with Des Moines until June 30, when it will evaluate its sales and decide whether or not it is in the company’s best interest to continue its flights.

The Des Moines International Airport has been known for its higher rates on tickets. It is Southwest’s hope that its presence will help lower the prices from other airlines as well to create a more competitive atmosphere and to help the company grow.

Don Smithey, executive director of the Des Moines airport, said: “Other carriers were forced to compete, so they did. It makes fares affordable, and that activity generates more activity.”

Many companies have been worried the employers and the workers could suffer from low economic growth because the high ticket prices and the limited flights that are in central Iowa.

The fare prices have already begun to lower by roughly 50 percent on flights just to Chicago. Companies believe this will help their businesses grow, which in turn will help Iowa’s economy.

However, that is not the only benefit. Southwest believes its participation in more flights in the central United States will help bring large-name businesses into the Midwest.

The airline has seen it happen before when it had added flights to Omaha, Neb. This might cause an expansion of outlet offices around the Midwest due to the easy and cheaper accessibility.

Businesses aren’t the only ones to see the benefit from the new airline. College students all over central Iowa who are from the Chicago area will find a more local, cheaper and, in some cases, faster method for traveling home.

Southwest is known for fares being $30 cheaper than other airlines, causing it to be looked at more by those booking airline tickets.

This will in turn benefit students as they try to visit their families while spending the least amount of money possible. It is Southwest’s hope that airline ticket prices will become competitive enough for college students to be able to afford going home for the holidays.

“I don’t think I will be heading home more, but it would make for a shorter trip when I do go back during the holidays,” said Jasmine Scholefield, freshman in mechanical engineering from Chicago.