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Southwest To Pull Out Of Key West

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A view of Southwest airline jets  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

A view of Southwest airline jets (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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KEY WEST (CBSMiami) – One less airline will be servicing South Florida. Dallas-based Southwest has announced plans to pull out of Key West.

Monroe County’s airports director is stumped as to why, according to our news partners at the Miami-Herald. “The numbers have been very good here,” Peter Horton said.

Southwest started serving Key West International Airport in December following its takeover of carrier AirTran with daily stops to Key West from Tampa, Orlando and New Orleans.

Southwest Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Bob Jordan said in a prepared statement that “unfortunately, the level of local demand no longer allows Southwest to profitably serve these markets.”

Digging into the numbers, Horton said that’s not the case.

From January through October, 86,587 passengers left Key West on Southwest, Horton says, and another 83,169 arrived. That totals 169,756 Southwest customers for the first 10-months of the year.

Southwest had 137,654 passengers come through Key West in 2012.

For comparison, in 2012, Delta carried 230,069 passengers in and out of Key West and American another 192,408 passengers.

In 2012 on all carriers, 741,799 passengers came through Key West International, up from 677,581 in 2011.

Horton says the airport is on track to top the 2012 passenger count by the end of the year.

Southwest will end its Key West service effective June of 2014.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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