“Southwest already has robust service from Milwaukee to both coasts and many points in between, but we’re glad they are diversifying their MKE portfolio with new short-haul flights to help travelers visit places like the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland,” Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said.
No other airlines are currently offering direct flights from Nashville to Milwaukee.
United Airlines is currently the only airline offering direct flights from Milwaukee to Cleveland.
Southwest will use Boeing 737 jets for the flights from Milwaukee to Nashville and to Cleveland.
The flights will be scheduled twice daily so business travelers can travel to a meeting and fly back to Milwaukee the same day, Abele said.
Traffic at Mitchell has been slowly increasing and airlines have been adding more flights at the airport.
Passenger traffic at Mitchell rose 3.2 percent in 2016 to 6.8 million.
Earlier this year Volaris launched service from Milwaukee to Guadalajara, Mexico, and Delta added nonstop service to Seattle and will add an additional flight to Boston in June. Alaska Airlines will add service from Milwaukee to Portland, Oregon in June. Last year, Frontier added routes to Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia and Phoenix. Southwest added a route to San Diego.
In a recent BizTimes Milwaukee cover story about the airport, Mitchell International executive director Izzy Bonilla said officials are working hard to attract more air service to Milwaukee.
“We just keep beating the drums with (the airlines),” he said. “Without mentioning any names, we do have airlines that are very, very interested in Milwaukee right now.”