AP NEWS

Southwest adds seasonal, Spring Break service

August 31, 2018

By RICK KELLEY

Staff Writer

HARLINGEN — Southwest Airlines yesterday announced a slew of new seasonal nonstop flights between Dallas/Love Field and Valley International Airport.

Southwest has added 17 extra flights that will operate nonstop between Harlingen and Dallas/Love Field during high demand days for Thanksgiving and Christmas 2018.

Also, airline officials announced that beginning March 10, Southwest will offer nonstop flights between Harlingen and Dallas/Love Field to provide passenger service for Spring Break. The airport has a shuttle service to South Padre Island.

These Sunday flights will depart from Dallas to Harlingen at 11:35 a.m. and arrive at 1:10 p.m. The Harlingen-Dallas flight departs at 1:45 p.m. and arrives at 3:20 p.m.

“These new nonstop flights to Dallas, in addition to the current nonstop flights to Austin and Houston/Hobby, will offer Rio Grande Valley travelers more options of connecting cities on the Southwest network,” Marv Esterly, director of aviation at Valley International, said yesterday.

The announcement of the new Southwest flights to Harlingen adds to an extraordinary week for Valley International. On Tuesday, officials announced a new air passenger carrier, Frontier Airlines, would begin nonstop flights to and from Harlingen to Stapleton International Airport in Denver and to and from Chicago O’Hare Airport.

Those flights will begin in November.

Currently providing air passenger service in and out of Valley International are Southwest, United Airlines, Delta Airlines and Sun Country Airlines.

Valley International also is an air cargo hub for DHL, FedEx and Southwest Cargo.

Earlier this month, airport officials announced the airport’s biggest project since 1990, a $15.5 million upgrade to replace 1930s-era concrete on taxiways and aircraft parking areas.

In May the airport opened a state-of-the-art, $3.8 million aircraft fire and rescue facility. The airport is currently undergoing a $1.2 million project to rip out the original late 1980s ceramic tile in the terminal building and replacing it with blue and gray epoxy terrazzo.

“The terminal’s new flooring should be in place for the start-up of these extra flights and, in addition, we have other improvement projects coming up that will benefit our traveling public,” Esterly said.

The airport also added new air chillers and fan coil units, a new HVAC system which has cut utility costs by 30 percent and new LED lighting. A new roof is coming next year.

rkelley@valleystar.com

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