DALLAS - Southwest Airlines and Continental Airlines confirmed today that we have entered into a lease giving Southwest access to 36 slots at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in New Jersey. The lease deal, which is contingent upon the closing of the Continental and United airlines' merger by November 30, 2010, and certain governmental approvals, would allow us to operate up to 18 daily roundtrip flights at Newark, with some of those flights beginning in March 2011 and a full schedule in place by June 2011. The slots are spread throughout the day and would allow us to integrate Newark service conveniently into our national route network.
"We are excited by the opportunity to initiate service from Newark, New Jersey, and we plan to enable that service starting next March through continued flight schedule optimization using our existing fleet," said Bob Jordan, Executive Vice President Strategy and Planning. "We've seen tremendous demand for Southwest Airlines in the New York City/New Jersey area in the past year. Customers are clamoring for our unique brand of hospitality, great value, low fares extensive flight network, and our terrific Employees who deliver outstanding Customer Service. Adding Newark provides an excellent complement to our LaGuardia and Islip service, giving Customers one more option for travel to and from the greater New York City/New Jersey area, which is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world."
We are working with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Continental and United Airlines to finalize arrangements for commencing our Newark service in March 2011, including approval of the necessary airport gates and facilities. The Department of Justice played a key role in the slot lease to help ensure competition is enhanced as Continental/United divested slots at Newark.
Details on what cities we will serve from Newark and on what dates that service will begin have not yet been determined.