Nashville International Airport has been expanding service to far-off destinations, but the latest announcement is one of the city’s closest neighbors: Atlanta. In August, Southwest Airlines will begin offering flights five times a day.
Previously, Delta was the only airline that flew directly to Atlanta, with 15 non-stop flights on the weekdays. The airline says the additional services respond to demands from business travelers who tend to make the four-hour drive. Nashville officials hope that as competition enters the market, ticket prices will drop enough that people who tend to drive there might consider flying. Southwest announced an inaugural sale to attract customers, with one-way flights starting at $19.
Tommy Lewis, Senior Vice President at Change Healthcare, said that would improve his company’s frequent travel between the two cities.
“Rather than driving in a car, I’ll be able to work, whether it’s on a plane or at the destination or here,” says Lewis. “It'll just save time, be more efficient, less costly overall."
Ralph Schulz, president of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, predicts the stronger Nashville-Atlanta connection won’t just provide an easier travel experience, but will also stimulate business development in Nashville.
“We’re going to attract more business here because it’s going to create an easier opportunity for businesspeople to connect with Atlanta,” says Schulz.
International travelers could benefit too, tourism officials say. Most international trips to and from Nashville require a connecting flight, and with Atlanta having the busiest airport in the world, the new connection could make it more convenient to travel abroad.