BALTIMORE, June 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) today showed the State of Maryland a symbol of true "LUV!" The airline unveiled Maryland One, a 737 emblazoned with an artist's rendering of the Maryland flag. Southwest Airlines' top leadership celebrated today with the State of Maryland and the Maryland Aviation Administration.
"We are thrilled to honor Maryland with this beautiful aircraft; it is truly a testament to the great relationship we have developed with our Baltimore/Washington Customers and a tribute to our Employees," said Colleen Barrett, Southwest Airlines President. "Our pride for Maryland will now fly high over the 60 cities Southwest serves."
Since beginning service to Maryland at Baltimore/Washington International Airport in 1993, Southwest Airlines has grown from eight to 164 daily nonstop departures. As Southwest Airlines has increased its flights, it also has increased its need for space. Last month, Southwest celebrated the opening of BWI's newest terminal, Terminal A/B. The new terminal not only offers brand new gates, it also offers a state-of-the-art baggage system, 11 security lanes dedicated solely to Southwest Airlines, a new ticket counter, and new concessions.
"Southwest's success at BWI would not have been possible without the sum of many parts, and this beautiful aircraft is a result of our collective hard work," said Gary Kelly, Southwest's Chief Executive Officer. "We have a great partnership with the State of Maryland and the Maryland Aviation Administration. Together we have all given our Maryland Customers a high- quality travel experience and low fares."
Barrett and Kelly hosted more than 200 community leaders today, including Maryland's Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Maryland's Secretary of Transportation Robert L. Flanagan, and Maryland Aviation Administration Executive Director, Paul Wiedefeld. Attendees waved Maryland flags, took photos with historical impersonators, and watched Maryland One make its first fly-by at Baltimore/Washington International Airport. Gov. Ehrlich, Gary Kelly, Colleen Barrett, and Southwest Executive Chairman Herb Kelleher closed the event by christening the aircraft and leading the attendees in a champagne toast.
"Maryland One truly showcases the tremendous partnership that our State continues to have with the Southwest family," said Governor Ehrlich. "It is a testament to the quality service that Southwest Airlines has provided Maryland for the past 12 years."
"This day is a source of pride for all of us at BWI," said Paul J. Wiedefeld, Executive Director of the Maryland Aviation Administration. "We stand together with the employees of Southwest Airlines to celebrate our continuing relationship and growth."
Maryland One joins ten other 737s in Southwest's fleet that carry a unique paint scheme: Arizona One, California One, Lone Star One (Texas), Nevada One, New Mexico One, three Shamu aircraft (Sea World), Silver One (celebrating Southwest's 25th anniversary), and Triple Crown One (recognizing Southwest's top rankings for ontime performance, baggage handling, and Customer satisfaction).
Baltimore/Washington International Airport is Southwest's third largest operation in terms of daily departures. The airline is currently hiring ramp and provisioning agents for its BWI operation. Southwest Airlines, the nation's largest carrier in terms of domestic passengers enplaned, currently serves 60 airports in 31 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates nearly 3,000 flights a day and has 31,000+ Employees systemwide.