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Kansas City Celebrates Southwest Airlines’ 50th Birthday with a ‘Share the Love’ Gate Party

by Jessica Palm | Jun 17, 2021

‘KC Heartland’ themed event - one of the largest community-led celebrations of Southwest Airlines’ birthday - includes giveaways, promotions for Southwest Airlines passengers

KANSAS CITY, MO – June 17, 2021 – Today, Kansas City celebrated Southwest Airlines’ 50th anniversary with a gate party at Kansas City International Airport (KCI) hosted by the Kansas City Aviation Department, Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) and Charlie Hustle. The event celebrated Southwest’s commitment to Kansas City and the KC region’s pride as a top destination to visit, work and live. 

The event also featured giveaways, including KC Heart apparel and “activation cards” to direct fans to KC Heartland social media channels and online home base, KC.org

“We wanted to celebrate Southwest Airlines in true Kansas City style, ‘sharing the KC love’ with the airline that so many of us have used for business and personal travel for decades,” said KCADC president and CEO Tim Cowden. “The construction of KCI’s new single terminal is a tremendous strength in our ability to continue to locate business in the area and elevate KC as a destination for talent. Southwest will play an even larger role moving forward as the dominant carrier at KCI.”

The gate party invited passengers to celebrate 50 years of Southwest Airlines and the return to travel, as passenger activity at KCI returns to post-COVID activity. In May, KCI had a passenger increase of more than 500 percent over pandemic-lows in May 2020, and daily passenger demand continues to be strong. 

“We’re thrilled to celebrate our birthday with the Customers and communities that have supported us throughout our history,” said Southwest’s Community Outreach Lead Lexi Muller. “Kansas City, and Missouri, have played a major role in our ability to grow throughout our decades of service. We thank the City, community leaders, and travelers for letting Southwest connect them to the people and places important in their lives.” 

Southwest has been a key partner in KCI’s new $1.5 billion single terminal construction project, set to open in 2023. Fit for the modern traveler, the new terminal will feature 39 gates, expanded dining options, live music by local musicians and art installations. 

Southwest has the largest market share of any airline at KCI and is expanding quickly, including a recent announcement that Southwest will now fly nonstop from Kansas City to Cancun starting on November 13, 2021.

“Congratulations to our partners at Southwest Airlines on 50 years of serving travelers,” said Kansas City Director of Aviation Pat Klein. “Southwest began serving Kansas City travelers February 18, 1982 and for many years they have held the largest passenger market share and most nonstop destinations. We look forward to the next decades to come!”

The “Share the Love” flight departed from Kansas City and flew to Southwest Airlines’ home city, Love Field in Dallas, TX, at 11:05 a.m. on Thursday, June 17. The gate party hosted at the Kansas City International Airport was one of the largest birthday celebrations hosted by a community for Southwest Airlines.

"Southwest Airlines has cultivated a loyal community for 50 years by giving back, unifying everyone, and connecting loved ones. All pillars that we also believe in at Charlie Hustle, which is why we're happy to celebrate Southwest Airlines' commitment to Kansas City,” said Charlie Hustle founder and CEO Chase McAnulty. “What better way to share the love than through giveaways featuring the iconic KC Heart?" 

As part of its 50th anniversary, Southwest Airlines is “sharing the love” with customers by holding a sweepstakes for “National Wanna Get Away Day,” ending June 18 at 11:59 p.m. The sweepstakes will gift more than 50 million Rapid Rewards® bonus points and offer other prizes. Find more information at southwest50.com/wannagetaway

View images from today’s “Share the Love” Gate Party

About Kansas City Aviation Department
The Kansas City Airport System is an Enterprise Fund Department of the City of Kansas City, Mo., and is supported wholly by airport user charges. No general tax fund revenues are used for the administration, promotion, operation, or maintenance of the airports in the system. Visit flykci.com for more information. Find us on Twitter and Facebook.

About Kansas City Area Development Council
The Kansas City Area Development Council serves the 18-county, two-state Kansas City area by marketing the region's business and lifestyle assets to companies and talent around the world. Working closely with its two states, and 50-plus county and community partners, the region has attracted more than 60,000 new jobs over its 40-year history. KCADC also leads the efforts behind the KC Animal Health Corridor, KC SmartPort, TeamKC and national lifestyle campaign, KC Heartland. thinkKC.com.

About Southwest Airlines
In its 50th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 57,000 Employees to a Customer base that topped 130 million Passengers in 2019. Today, Southwest has 121 destinations on its route map in eleven countries. Lean more by visiting Southwest.com

About Charlie Hustle
Started in 2011 by Founder Chase McAnulty, Charlie Hustle was born out of a love for vintage shirts and fun, unique designs. The KC apparel company became a favorite during the Kansas City Royals' playoff runs when the 'KC Heart' rose to prominence. Now, it has 200+ licenses, 30 employees, and has raised more than $1 million for charities. charliehustle.com 

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