PhotoThe U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has given shivering Chicagoans a new escape route.

The department today announced that it has finalized the tentative decision made on March 16, 2012 to allow AirTran, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, to provide daily nonstop service from Chicago’s Midway International Airport to Cancun International Airport. It will be the first service from Midway to Cancun in four years.

“This decision provides consumers the opportunity to travel to Cancun from each of Chicago’s international airports,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Not only will this new service provide the traveling public with more options, it will also support jobs in the aviation industry and boost economic activity throughout the region.”

Under the U.S.-Mexico agreement, three carriers may provide scheduled passenger services between Chicago and Cancun. Currently, American Airlines and United serve Cancun from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. USA 3000 Airlines ceased its U.S.-Mexico services on January 30, 2012, leaving one opportunity available for Chicago-Cancun scheduled passenger service.

Two competing applicants, AirTran and Frontier Airlines, participated in the Department proceeding to award the one available Chicago-Cancun opportunity. Frontier may continue to serve the Chicago-Cancun market from O’Hare International Airport on a charter basis.


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