Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Southwest Airlines announces major flight expansions

Southwest Airlines Co. will carry more passengers to, from and within California and bulk up its service in Mexico, according to a flight schedule the Dallas-based airline released Monday.

Southwest extended its bookable flight schedule through June 1, 2018, listing nearly 20 new nonstop routes and increasing frequency to 27 existing routes as well as opening new international gateways.

Effective March 10, 2018, new nonstop service will be offered on Saturdays between both California cities of San Jose and Sacramento and San Jose del Cabo/Cabo San Lucas, pending government approvals.

Additionally, San Diego passengers will be able to fly nonstop on Saturdays and Sundays to and from Puerto Vallarta, complementing daily international service between San Diego and San Jose del Cabo/Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Effective April 8, 2018, new daily nonstop service will begin between San Jose, California, and the following cities: Austin, Houston (Hobby), Boise and St. Louis. Also April 8, new daily nonstops will launch between Sacramento and Austin, Sacramento and St. Louis, and Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville (three daily flights).

Effective May 6, 2018, service will start between San Jose and Orlando and Sacramento and Orlando.

Southwest, the world’s largest low-cost carrier, also announced that, beginning April 14, 2018, nonstop seasonal service will operate on Saturdays between Cancun and both Columbus, Ohio and New Orleans.

The airline also published returning seasonal nonstop routes throughout the country. Effective April 8, 2018, Southwest will operate daily service between Houston and Portland, Oregon, and weekend service between Denver and Charleston, South Carolina. Weekly service on Saturdays between Albuquerque and Orlando, and between Kansas City and Pensacola, Florida, will return beginning April 14.

Seats on these flights and others through June 1, 2018 are available now on

Despite the slew of new flights, Southwest continues to estimate its year-over-year available seat mile growth to be less than 4 percent in the first half of 2018 and its full year 2018 ASM growth to be less than its 2016 year-over-year ASM growth of 5.7 percent.

ASM measures an airline's carrying capacity or how many seat miles are available for purchase on an airline. Seat miles are calculated by multiplying the available seats by the number of miles that a plane will be flying. ASM is a carefully watched metric for investors because of the negative impact on profitability if an airline adds seats faster than it sells them.

(Bill Hethcock – Dallas Business Journal)