CANTON -- Good news for frequent flyers and all of us in Northeast Ohio as Southwest Airlines lands at Akron-Canton Airport.
They'll keep service at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, but the flights they're adding just 30 miles south could be a boost to business.
It's a day frequent flyer Larry Hawthorne has been asking Southwest for for years.
"Everytime I make a reservation or everytime I talk to anybody I say hey you guys got to get in to Akron Canton," said Hawthorne, who lives in Dover.
Now he'll shave about 45 minutes off his business commute before he ever gets on the plane.
Southwest Airlines will keep their Cleveland routes, and add two destinations from Akron Canton airport: Chicago Midway and Denver.
Airport CEO Rick McQueen says they first heard no from Southwest in 1987.
"We didn't give up, we continued to work with not only Southwest, but other carriers to try to woo them to Akron-Canton," said McQueen.
And it's working. The airport set passenger records for 15 months straight, still catching up to its big brother 30 miles to the north, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
"We complement Hopkins with our low fares and a relaxing airport experience. So depending on what you want as a traveler, you can get it in Northeast Ohio," said Kristie Van Auken, senior vice president and communication director for Akron-Canton.
Whether you fly Southwest or not, you may see the benefit.
"Fares always go down. Now they are down already due to AirTran. The Department of Transportation will tell you fares go down 60 percent and traffic triples is what typically happens," said Bob Jackson with Southwest and AirTran Airways. "And because we're large, you have more destinations."
"Whether you're a traveler for vacation or pleasure, or a business that's looking to come to a good state and a nice area that's easy to get in and out of, I think the addition of Southwest just opens new markets for us," said Ohio's Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.
The addition of Southwest has already created 35 new jobs. The airline has taken over the existing AirTran daily nonstop to Denver. It's also added two daily nonstop flights to Chicago Midway Airport.
AirTran will continue to operate 12 routes until the transition to Southwest is complete by 2015.
Southwest will maintain its Cleveland routes.