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      Columbia Metro baffled about Southwest snub

      The low fare, no frills carrier won't be flying out of Columbia

      Southwest Airlines is moving into the Palmetto State but is snubbing the Capital City.

      That has Columbia tourism officials stunned.

      The low cost carrier is opting to fly out of the upstate and Charleston next year.

      President of the Midlands Authority for Conventions and Tourism Ric Luber says he offered Southwest a valuable incentives package.

      "Anything that we can do and put on the table is important for the decision maker," he says. "When we lose an airline, we lose business and we're talking about millions of dollars."

      Columbia Metropolitan Airport officials say they worked for more than 10 years trying to lure Southwest to the Midlands.

      Columbia already has higher fares than larger airports, which prompts many travelers to fly from other areas.

      "We bid on a group, it was a thousand doctors," says Luber. "When they looked at our carriers, and saw what we had available, they said we cannot come to Columbia."

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