First Southwest Airlines flight arrival part of MEM's new focus - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

First Southwest Airlines flight arrival part of MEM's new focus

Southwest's entry into Memphis means more non-stop flights to more cities while airport officials hope it helps boost the number of local passengers. Southwest's entry into Memphis means more non-stop flights to more cities while airport officials hope it helps boost the number of local passengers.

(WMC-TV) - An Elvis impersonator will help guide in the first Southwest flight set to arrive Sunday morning. It is part of the highly-anticipated arrival of Southwest Airlines. This is a new focus for Memphis International Airport.

Temporary AirTran signs cover Southwest logos at what will be the low-cost carrier's new ticket counter inside the Memphis International Airport.

The first Southwest flight will arrive in Memphis from Chicago. It has been nearly two years since Southwest announced it would convert its AirTran operations in Memphis.

An online campaign also took off to try and increase its presence in the city. Many Mid-Southerners have driven to Little Rock or Nashville in order to fly Southwest.

"I'm just glad to see somebody come to Memphis that's more reasonably priced," said traveler Kathy Hurst.

According to airport spokesman, Glen Thomas, that is the new mission of Memphis International.

"The departure of the Delta hub really provides an opportunity to low-cost carriers to come in and Southwest is one of them. Frontier is coming in March. So, we hope they're the first of several," said Thomas.

Southwest's entry into Memphis means more non-stop flights to more cities while airport officials hope it helps boost the number of local passengers.

There is a change in leadership coming to Memphis International as well. CEO Larry Cox will retire in January.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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