Southwest Airlines held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new training facility Thursday morning.
The facility, called Wings, will include room for 18 flight simulators for pilot training. The facility and a six-story office building that is already under construction will add 700,000 square feet to Southwest’s headquarters in Dallas. The project will cost $200 million and is scheduled to be completed in early 2018.
“We have 180 flights into Dallas Love Field now, up from 125,” said Southwest Executive Vice President, Corporate Service Jeff Lamb. “With that growth across our system, we need to be able to provide the training and support for that. This new project will allow us to grow our flight training ability by 40 percent.”
Southwest has 10 flight simulators in its current space. Lamb said Wings will open with 14 simulators, which will take up about half of the building. The other half will be used for office space.
Southwest has nearly 10,000 employees based in Dallas and 50,000 employees overall.