Supervisor Carpenter and airport officials presented Southwest Airlines with a citation from the Town of Islip, and a special award commemorating the milestone. Joining Town officials were Rick Pelc, Regional Director of Ground Operations for Southwest Airlines; Raphael Weiner, Southwest Airlines Sr. Business Consultant, Network Planning from Dallas; and Ed Concilio, Southwest Airlines Station Manager.

“In the late 1990s, Southwest determined that Long Island MacArthur Airport and the Long Island region had undeveloped promise, and that there was a real opportunity for a major carrier to make a difference,” explained Aviation Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken. “By 2004, Southwest invested in a $65 million terminal, showing its commitment to our airport and customers,” she added.

“Southwest recognized the positive business focus of our community and our ideal location with travelers from Nassau and Suffolk Counties,” said Supervisor Carpenter. “Herb Kelleher, Southwest’s Chairman, knew the airlines’ customers would want to save time and money while enjoying Southwest’s service. When Southwest Airlines started service at MacArthur in 1999, Kelleher called the airport ‘an ultra-convenient facility.’ This still rings true 20 years later,” said Carpenter.

“We remain dedicated to our legendary Southwest Hospitality, delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, and Southwest Heart,” said Raphael Weiner, Southwest Airlines’ Sr. Business Consultant. “Some things have changed over 20 years, but this important fact remains the same: we LUV serving Long Island,” he added.

Southwest Airlines inaugurated service at MacArthur with four destinations. Today, Southwest serves five nonstop cities: Baltimore-Washington (BWI), Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, West Palm Beach, and Orlando.

“The Southwest team at Long Island MacArthur Airport takes great pride in serving our customers each day,” said Ed Concilio, Southwest’s Station Manager. “We look forward to offering our low fares, promise of no hidden fees, and Bags Fly Free program to our local community for many more years to come.”

“The airport is an ideal fit for Southwest Airlines because we keep our costs low, and run the airport like a business. As a longtime business partner, we recognize Southwest’s extraordinary commitment to serve our communities’ air travel needs. In strategic alignment with Southwest, the airport’s new air service program has energized the Long Island community and increased passenger demand. The award-winning partnership with Discover Long Island, ‘Short Flight Long Island,’ highlighted Southwest’s BWI-ISP route bringing more people to Long Island. Southwest Airlines continues to play an important role in enabling Long Islanders to visit family, travel for business and get to and from our region,” said Larose-Arken.

“The 20-year partnership between Long Island MacArthur Airport and Southwest Airlines has spurred economic growth for the entire region and thus, I commend Supervisor Carpenter and Southwest for helping make air travel more accessible for countless Long Islanders,” said Kevin S. Law, President & CEO of the Long Island Association.