Takeoff for Phoenix: Southwest Airlines, which began service to Orange County in May, said more than 44,000 passengers passed through its gates at John Wayne Airport in December, a 4.7% increase over November's traffic.
The airline said that Orange County continues to be one of its top destinations. The carrier, based in Dallas, has flights to Oakland, Salt Lake City and San Jose, and on Sunday it added service to Phoenix, with four flights a day.
For the Phoenix service, Southwest is charging an everyday fare of $79 one way, compared to as much as $179 at competitor American West Airlines. Both airlines are offering discounted advance-purchase fares for as little as $39 one way.