Southwest Airlines Leaving Branson Airport

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Southwest Airlines said it will cease operations in June at Branson Airport, which has been struggling to make payments on a municipal bond and lost about $19 million in 2012 after losing about $44 million between 2009 and 2011. The privately owned airport had hoped the “Southwest effect” would improve those numbers, but Southwest officials said business wasn’t as strong as they expected.

Southwest Airlines began service in Branson in March, flying daily to and from Dallas, Houston and Chicago, with Saturday flights to and from Orlando. A Southwest spokeswoman said the airport’s unstable financial situation also played a role in the decision. Bondholders and airport management entered into a forbearance agreement in 2011, after the airport defaulted on payments. The current forbearance expires on June 30, 2014.

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