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Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport is the newest international hub for Southwest

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Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), located in Broward County, Florida, is preparing for a $300 million renovation to its’ Terminal 1. The renovation will include five new gates for international fights, a new security check point and a concessions area. It will serve as the newest international terminal for Southwest Airlines. Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2014 and be completed by 2017.

Southwest Airlines, the carrier with the most flights out of FLL with 70 daily domestic flights, plans to add 25 daily international flights to the Caribbean and South America from the FLL international hub.

AirTran, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, flies international routes out of Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, Orange County California and San Antonio; however, this will be the first international venture for Southwest Airlines out of FLL under its’ own brand aircraft.

Broward County is paying for the renovation project through airline fees. There will be no taxpayer dollars, federal or state finding used in the project. Kent George, Director of Aviation for Broward County, said, “This is a partnership with Southwest. This is a significant step forward for the community and for providing additional air service both domestically and internationally.”

Southwest Airlines will have stiff competition as both JetBlue and Spirit Airlines have a significant international presence out of FLL. Broward County anticipates a return on its investment, projecting an additional 1 million passengers per year generating an additional $25 million in revenue from airline landing fees, concessions, rental car taxes, and hotel taxes.

According to conservative estimates, the additional passengers using the Southwest Airlines international Terminal 1 translates to more than $300 million per year spent within the local economy in retail stores and restaurants.

The new Terminal 1 project is part of a $2 billion overhaul of the airport that includes improvements to terminals 3 & 4 and new runway which should be completed by September 2014.

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