Wichita's opportunity to land Southwest Airlines is at a standstill, for now.
The airline doesn't plan to add cities in 2011, other than those already announced, a Southwest official said Wednesday.
"We're not closing that door forever," Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said of offering service from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. "We'll continue to study the market."
The Dallas-based carrier hasn't made plans for 2012, although its CEO has said it has a long list of cities the airline is contemplating.
"We can only hope that we're one of the cities on their list," director of airports Victor White said.
White and Wichita City Manager Robert Layton received the news from Southwest management, Layton said.
Layton said the sides aren't "engaged in any additional discussions," but he remained optimistic.
"I do not believe that it's dead by any means," Layton said.
The airline has looked at its financial situation and is trying to project what it will do in the next two years, Layton said.
The city has provided Southwest with information it requested and will continue to assist it as it evaluates the market, Layton said.
Airline officials told White that they hope the Kansas Legislature will continue to support the affordable airfares program, which gives incentives to attract low-cost carriers to Wichita, in the upcoming session.
Under the program, the state agreed to provide $5 million a year in revenue guarantees every year for five years. That's set to expire June 30. The Legislature must approve the money every year.
"They're watching that very closely," White said. "That's very important to them."
Sources have told The Eagle that Southwest was seeking $3 million to help with start-up costs and at least two years of additional money for revenue guarantees to fly from Wichita.
Sources have also said Southwest had been considering three routes from Wichita, including nonstop flights to Dallas' Love Field and Las Vegas. A third route would be nonstop to St. Louis, then continue to Chicago, which is Southwest's top city for daily departures.
Southwest had given the city a fall deadline. With that time frame, service would have started about June.
In May, Southwest announced it would start new service to two cities in South Carolina — Charleston and Greenville-Spartanburg — next year.
And United and Continental airlines recently gave up 18 daily round-trip flight spots to Southwest Airlines at Newark International Airport, putting to rest antitrust concerns about a United-Continental merger.
"We do plan to move forward on those (slots)," Mainz said.