The St. Joe Company Announces Early Termination of Southwest Airlines Guarantee Agreement
WATERSOUND, Fla., Jul 02, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The St. Joe Company /quotes/zigman/162468/quotes/nls/joe JOE -0.88% (“St. Joe”) today announced the early termination of the Strategic Alliance Agreement For Air Service between Southwest Airlines Co. (“Southwest”) and St. Joe. The agreement required St. Joe to reimburse Southwest for up to $26.0 million of losses during the first three years of operation at the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP). St. Joe has not been required to make any payments under the agreement. The early termination is effective July 1, 2012.
“We are proud to have played a critical role in securing air service by Southwest to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport,” said St. Joe CEO Park Brady. “Southwest enabled not only increased visitation to our region but also reduced airfares that are enjoyed by the residents of our local communities.”
Southwest initiated service to ECP on May 23, 2010, in conjunction with the opening of the new airport located at West Bay in Panama City Beach, FL. “The addition of Southwest’s service is a true success, with Southwest accounting for 57% of the passenger market share and taking the Airport from 9% of the Northwest Florida’s passenger traffic in 2009 to 25% in 2012,” according to John Wheat, ECP’s Executive Director.
“The financial safety net provided by St. Joe was instrumental in attracting Southwest Airlines to Northwest Florida Beaches International. In every respect, the Agreement with St. Joe has been a triumph. It has fulfilled its mission and achieved its intended purpose,” explained Bob Montgomery, Vice President — Airport Affairs for Southwest.
Recently, Southwest extended their lease agreement with the Northwest Florida International Beaches Airport through 2015, illustrating their commitment to the market and the communities of northwest Florida.