Southwest gets $2.5M in subsidies for Wichita

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Associated Press

Posted on February 4, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 4 at 4:30 PM

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Southwest Airlines received $2.52 million in subsidies from Kansas' Affordable Airfares program to help underwrite losses from its service out of Wichita during the first quarter of the fiscal year.

The Dallas-based airline, which began service in June from Wichita, has daily flights from Wichita to Dallas, Chicago and Las Vegas. Southwest received $2.52 million in subsidies for it service provided during July, August and September, said Chris Chronis, Sedgwick County chief financial officer.

Southwest is eligible for up to $6.5 million per fiscal year to help underwrite losses on its Wichita service. Southwest hasn't applied yet for funds for service after September, Chronis told The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/1aZeJnP ).

Kansas allocates $5 million a year for its Affordable Airfare program, which was formed to provide more flight options, more competition for air travel and more affordable airfares. Funding must be approved by the Legislature each year.

Above the state's portion of the funding, the city of Wichita and Sedgwick County equally contribute the balance.

Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said the airline has been pleased with the Wichita market so far and the Affordable Airfare program "is significant and substantial in a relatively new market for us."

"It helps us get our footing and helps establish Southwest in the market," he said. "We do hope demand will warrant our level of service."

Mainz said Southwest has set its overall schedule through Aug. 8 and isn't planning service changes in Wichita during that time.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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