Huntsville International actively pitching Southwest Airlines, hoping competition lowers flight costs

Data pix.

HUNTSVILLE,  Ala - If you follow Huntsville International Airport on Twitter, you don't have to look far to see they are currently courting  Southwest Airlines.

With Valentines Day approaching, HSV is following a 'flirty' theme in their online recruiting efforts. Residents have joined in the fun too.

"If they (the public and Southwest) like this, and we really do want them, we are going to flirt with them," said Jana Kuner, the Public Relations Manager for the Port of Huntsville.

Jokes aside, this a serious, daily pursuit for HSV.

"There are a lot of smart people in this area doing big things in this world. They don't have time to drive 2-hours. They deserve the convenience of having your operation here in Huntsville," said Kuner.

If you see #StopTheDrive, that's a big factor in why airlines like Southwest do not fly out of Huntsville. According to HSV, if people are willing to drive to Nashville and Birmingham, Southwest isn't going to start landing planes in Huntsville.

HSV says they don't control their prices, the airlines do. HSV says when the market has more competition, prices typically get lower.

WHNT talked to one business traveler who frequently comes to Huntsville.

"There's not enough flights in and the flights are very expensive. They really need some more competition. I've also flown in at times where there's no rental cars available. I would have to go maybe 10 or 20 miles away," said Kerry Kachejian.

To help travelers find the best possible deal, HSV pays a travel agent to work with passengers looking to fly out of Huntsville. The service is paid for by HSV. Kuner says agents can track deals over a period of time and notify travelers as needed. To call the travel agent: 256-258-1944.

HSV says passenger traffic has been on the increase for 23 straight months. Meaning, airlines are adding routes and using larger planes to meet the demand.

Kuner told WHNT the airport can support large aircraft as their runways compare to larger airports across the south.

Southwest Airlines did acknowledge to WHNT that they are aware of the social media push coming from Huntsville. They couldn't comment officially on their interest, but they think using social media is "clever".