Southwest and SeaWorld ends partnership after 26 years


It’s a partnership that saw penguins and whales fly. However, after 26 years, SeaWorld and Southwest have mutually ended their partnership, the two companies announced on Thursday. Southwest Airlines has been the official airline of SeaWorld parks since 1988. What is the cause of the split? Could it be as controversial as it sounds?




In a statement on their official website, Southwest called the split mutual, and said that they will continue to work together through their “Southwest Vacations” program.

From Southwest:


Southwest and SeaWorld have mutually decided not to renew their partnership when the contract expires at the end of the year. Our promotional marketing relationship began in 1988 and was one of the first of its kind – focused on co-marketing opportunities between Southwest passengers and SeaWorld visitors.

The companies decided not to renew the contract based on shifting priorities. Southwest is spreading its wings with new international service, and increased focus on local market efforts. With an increasing international visitor base, SeaWorld is looking to focus on new and growing markets in Latin America and Asia, among others.

The companies will continue to work together through Southwest Vacations. Southwest’s three specialty airplanes will return to the company’s traditional livery.

Southwest and SeaWorld have enjoyed their long relationship, and wish each other continued success.

This may seem like a victory for Animal Rights activists, and PETA who have petitioned the airline to stop the partnership. Activists have been urging the airline to drop the marine life park as a partner since the anti-SeaWorld film “Blackfish” aired.

While that is entirely possible, it’s not very likely.

Southwest is, itself, facing a bevy of controversy after facing several lawsuits this year, and also a stiff fine from the FAA. The FAA has proposed a $12 million dollar fine against Southwest for failing to comply with FAA Regulations.

Could it be that maybe SeaWorld has split from Southwest? Not likely either. While the Blackfish supporters are claiming victory, it’s likely that the two have simply parted ways due to other reasons.

However, looking at the statements on why the companies wish to part, does make it sound like they both want the same things. Could there be something larger coming down the pipeline? We may have to wait until the next financial report to find out.

The three specialty aircraft that have SeaWorld icons like Shamu and the penguins will be returned to regular service, with regular Southwest paint schemes.

Stay tuned for more from SeaWorld, and be sure to get social with us on Facebook, and follow along with us on Twiter @BehindThrills for the latest updates!

For more information about SeaWorld, including tickets, visit the official website by clicking here!