For first time in more than a decade, Southwest Airlines’ field message comes to Las Vegas

Matt York, AP

Southwest began serving Las Vegas with nine flights a day. The company now handles close to 200.

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Southwest Airlines President and CEO Gary Kelly speaks about his company during an interview at McCarran International Airport Monday, February 1, 2010.

Sun coverage

It’s a corporate meeting that’s part state-of-the-company address, part pep rally.

It's Southwest Airlines' "message to the field," and it's coming to Las Vegas today.

Southwest co-founder Herb Kelleher began giving the addresses early in the company’s history, and the tradition stuck. Today, hundreds of Southwest employees from across the West will converge on Las Vegas to join the more than 2,700 local workers for Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly’s message to the field.

Ironically, Kelly’s speech won’t take place at McCarran International Airport, where Southwest, the airport's busiest carrier, operates more than 200 flights daily. Instead, he’ll meet the workers at Planet Hollywood, where he will outline the company’s goals for the coming year and take questions.

The address will be the first message to the field held in Las Vegas in more than a decade. It is one of several scheduled across the country.

Kelly is expected to update employees on the airline’s acquisition of AirTran and international expansion plans.

Las Vegas is the second-busiest airport for Southwest, behind Chicago’s Midway Airport.

The corporate meeting is expected to pump tens of thousands of dollars into the local economy, since many of the participants have planned parties and dinners for after the speech.

Las Vegas also has been a popular destination for Southwest’s Spirit Day parties in May, where employees gather downtown to celebrate the company’s successes.

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