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Southwest Airlines Announces New MCO Route to Turks & Caicos

Southwest Airlines has officially announced The Turks and Caicos Islands as one of the new routes to The Orlando International Airport (MCO).

The inaugural flight from MCO to the newly renamed Howard Hamilton International Airport was welcomed with a water cannon salute by TCIAA’s Fire Department on Tuesday June 04th, 2024.

This exciting announcement ahead of the summer season comes after the airline’s decision to replace its Fort Lauderdale service because they’ve relocated their hub from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando. This means no more direct flights from Fort Lauderdale to sunny Turks and Caicos.

Southwest Airline Manager, Donneike Gardiner said the team is thrilled about their route change from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Orlando, FL. She added “With MCO being a Mega Station (a hub) for us at Southwest, it increases our passenger’s ability to connect to more cities across our network by approximately 60%. Our daily passenger traffic is made up of 95%-98% connections.”

Visitors disembark Southwest Airlines flight at the Howard Hamilton International Airport

Gardiner shared that their loads are looking promising with the first flight into PLS from MCO showing a load factor of 97%. She said “Our daily flight from MCO to PLS has an estimated time of arrival of 3:05PM and our flight from PLS - MCO has an estimated time of departure of 4:00PM; except for Saturdays where our estimated time of arrival from MCO to PLS is 12:15PM and PLS to MCO has an estimated time of departure of 2:25PM.”

Passengers, as of Tuesday June 04th, 2024, can travel from MCO to several other nonstop routes to sunny destinations like the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Gardiner, while speaking on the new chapter, said:


“While we will miss our direct flight into Fort Lauderdale; we’re embracing this inevitable change. I encourage our local Turks and Caicos passengers to explore the option of connecting to Fort Lauderdale via Orlando as they will have the ability to have 2 bags fly free at 50lbs, while accumulating their Rapid Rewards points that never expire.”

Nikeva Ariza, TCIAA’s Manager of Corporate Affairs & Communications also added remarks surrounding the excitement.

She said: “We’re always elated to add new routes to our destination. Route development is an essential part of our mandate to provide customer satisfaction and increasing revenue.”

Today the first flight had 139 passengers arriving and 88 passengers departing.  While Southwest has moved from Fort Lauderdale to MCO, there are still ways to connect through Orlando. The TCIAA will continue to partner with its stakeholders to develop and promote all our airports for more route development.



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