Southwest Airlines announced its intention to return to Jackson in January 2021. Image: SWA

In his weekly press conference, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba reiterated his excitement for the return of low-cost air carrier Southwest Airlines to Jackson.

The airline announced its upcoming January 2021 return last week.

“Four years ago, the issue of Southwest leaving was a major issue amongst residents,” he said. “As I have traveled out of the Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport for various events and necessary conferences, I’m constantly reminded of the desire to have a low-cost carrier.”

Destinations, routes, schedules and pricing are unknown at this time, but airport officials hope to have the information “in the coming weeks.”

“We’re happy to be able to announce that Southwest Airlines has confirmed its intention to serve the Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport with dedicated, scheduled air service to a variety of destinations,” Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Chief Executive Officer Paul Brown said.

Southwest’s 2014 departure from the Jackson market, Brown said, was strictly a traffic and volume-related decision.

Lumumba said he remembered the conversations that his late father, the former mayor, Chokwe Lumumba, Sr. shared with him when he traveled to Texas in 2014 to meet with Southwest officials to recruit them back.

“This has been a long time coming,” Lumumba noted. “The celebration that is most deserving is of those people who work diligently, not only to bring that low-cost carrier but also to grow and develop a plan for the future of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority as an entire team,” Lumumba said.

“Whether we’re talking about the Medgar Wiley Evers Airport or Hawkins Field, this is an opportunity not only for economic development, but it’s an opportunity that opens up more of the world to us and opens us up to the world as well. We’re very happy to have Southwest Airlines back, and we hope that it has an associated effect on the cost of flying out of Jackson.”