The lease deal, confirmed Friday, is contingent upon the closing of the Continental and United airlines' merger by Nov. 30 and governmental approvals.
The deal gives Dallas-based Southwest the right to operate up to 18 daily roundtrip flights at Newark as soon as March of next year.
"We are excited by the opportunity to initiate service from Newark, New Jersey, and we plan to enable that service starting next March through continued flight schedule optimization using our existing fleet," said Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President of Strategy and Planning. "We've seen tremendous demand for Southwest Airlines in the New York City/Newark area in the past year. Customers are clamoring for our unique brand of hospitality, great value, low fares, extensive flight network, and our terrific Employees who deliver outstanding Customer Service. Adding Newark provides an excellent complement to our LaGuardia and Long Island service, giving Customers one more option for travel to and from the greater New York City/New Jersey area. This service also will provide a needed injection of low fares and competition into the New York/Newark market."
Southwest is working with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Continental and United Airlines to finalize arrangements for commencing its Newark service in March 2011, including the approval of the acquisition of the necessary airport gates and facilities. Details on what cities Southwest will serve from Newark and on what dates that service will begin have not yet been determined.
"The divestiture of slots at Newark by the combined Continental/United will ensure competition is enhanced, and we appreciate the Department of Justice's role in finding a fair solution," Jordan said.