Southwest Airlines serviced Jackson from 1997 to 2014, when an expiring federal law made Jackson uncompetitive as a service point. With the pandemic waning, Southwest is once again looking to fly in and out of Jackson. Photo by Miguel Ángel Sanz on Unsplash
Construction is underway at the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport in preparation for Southwest Airlines’ return to Mississippi on Sunday, June 6. New check-in kiosks, gate and baggage claim areas are under construction to make room for the airline’s first flights out of Jackson since 2014.
Southwest was “an important part of Jackson’s flight offerings in years past,” Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Chief Executive Officer Paul Brown said in the initial announcement last October. “We will welcome them back in true Jackson style. Metro Jackson and our state capital region will be well-served by the great customer service provided by Southwest.”
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba also welcomed the news, calling Southwest's return “great news for our city and great news for travelers throughout the region who have been missing access to Southwest’s accessible flights and low fares.”
“This will double the traffic on the west concourse,” Brown said, as WLBT reported. “We’ve also engaged in the total renovation of the security screening checkpoint on the west end and allow up to 450 passengers to be screened an hour. You’re going to see a totally different airport and this is a space that was previously occupied by a pre-security restaurant space,” Brown said as WJTV reported.
Southwest stopped its 17-year-long service out of Jackson in 2014 to focus on larger airports after a federal law called the Wright Amendment expired. The law had made Jackson a competitive service point by limiting flights out of Dallas Love Field Airport to nearby states.
Southwest confirmed its return in October of last year, citing the “airline industry's strongest balance sheet and most successful business model” during the COVID-19 pandemic for allowing them to expand to more regional service points.
The budget-friendly airline will make seven daily flights during weekdays and six flights per day on Saturdays and Sundays to 100 destinations, including new non-stop routes to Orlando, Baltimore, Houston and Atlanta.
Vaccinations are not required for travel, but Southwest requests that travelers stay home if they experience a fever or any symptoms of COVID-19 within 10 days prior to their flight. Masks are required at all times in both airports and planes.
Email Reporting Fellow Julian Mills at [email protected].