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US Airways Makes Last Stand at Philadelphia Hub

Preparing for the competition: A sign at the Philadelphia airport heralds the impending arrival of Southwest Airlines. The discount airline begins service out of the city May 9, with 14 daily nonstop flights to six cities.
Jack Speer, NPR
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Preparing for the competition: A sign at the Philadelphia airport heralds the impending arrival of Southwest Airlines. The discount airline begins service out of the city May 9, with 14 daily nonstop flights to six cities.
The US Airways marketing team tries to lure new customers with free food and colorful costumes at a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Jack Speer, NPR /
/
The US Airways marketing team tries to lure new customers with free food and colorful costumes at a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Southwest Airlines, known for its low fares and wise-cracking flight attendants, begins service out of Philadelphia Sunday. The move marks a new era at an airport that for years has been dominated almost exclusively by US Airways.

But while US Airways may be on the ropes, the carrier won't go down without a fight: it's launched a huge marketing blitz. Members of the US Airways "Go Fares" team have been engaged in what the company calls a campaign of "unbelievable acts of kindness" -- everything from putting money in people's parking meters to filling gas tanks to providing free cheese steaks. At a recent event celebrating Cinco de Mayo, the US Airways marketing team tried to lure new customers with free food and colorful costumes.

US Airways also recently began offering one-way fares out of Philadelphia for as low as $29. But even as it cuts fares, the airline continues to lose money, reporting a $177 million loss in its latest quarter. NPR's Jack Speer reports.

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Jack Speer
Jack Speer is a newscaster at NPR in Washington, DC. In this role he reports, writes, edits, and produces live hourly updates which air during NPR programming.