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Southwest launches international flights from Midway

Southwest Airlines began international service Sunday from Midway Airport and eight other airports.

Southwest-branded airplanes left Midway bound for Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Cancun, Mexico; and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The international service is a among the final steps of Southwest’s integration of AirTran Airways. Southwest jets now fly from the airline’s nine gateway airports to seven international airports.

“Even as we approach the end of our integration process, we’re growing and expanding our offerings to customers,” said Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines executive vice president, chief commercial officer and president of AirTran Airways. “We’ve taken the final step of integrating our international service and industry-leading loyalty benefits into a cohesive, streamlined, and freshly re-designed Southwest.com.”

Southwest began service at Midway in March 1985 and has become the airline’s busiest airport in terms of daily departures with 258 nonstop departures a day to 64 cities, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.