Southwest’s kickoff at SFO just ‘peachy’

The launch of 18 new Southwest Airlines flights at San Francisco International Airport was smooth and on schedule Sunday, airport officials said.

Airport duty manager Abubaker Azam said everything was “peachy” all day at the airport, which welcomed Southwest back to its domestic terminal following a six-year hiatus from San Francisco. “We’ve gotten used to adding flights this summer,” Azam said.

Southwest Airlines resumed service just in time to catch the tail end of the busy summer season at SFO. This summer, the airport also welcomed low-cost airlines JetBlue and Virgin America, sparking what industry analysts called an unprecedented summer airfare war.

Festivities kicked off Sunday to welcome the airline back to this side of the Bay. Mayor Gavin Newsom was expected to welcome the airline and its top officers back to The City at a ceremony this morning.

After nearly two years of negotiations between the airport and airline, which included promises to reduce airport fees and provide opportunities for ample growth in SFO terminals, the airline is offering 18 daily flights and introductory low fares.

Southwest is offering introductory fares of $39 one way to San Diego, $59 to Las Vegas and $99 to Chicago, fares that are also being offered at Oakland International Airport and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. Fares are available through Oct. 10 at www.southwest.com and travel must be between now and Oct. 31.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly expects the airline will be able to grow to 100 daily flights in and out of SFO.

tramroop@examiner.com

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