US carrier Southwest Airlines has released its winter schedule from Oct. 31st, 2020, through Jan. 4th, 2021. The Dallas-based airline is planning to add 11 routes to its network.
New routes coming this fall
- Long Beach – Phoenix from Nov. 1st, three daily flights
- Long Beach – Austin from Nov. 1st, daily
- Orange County – Nashville from Nov. 2nd, one flight every day except Sundays
- Ontario (California) – Houston (Hobby) from Nov. 1st, one flight every day except Saturdays
- Phoenix – Memphis from Dec. 17th, daily service
- Denver – Birmingham (Alabama) from Dec. 17th, daily
- Denver – Wichita from Dec. 17th, daily
- Denver – Little Rock from Dec. 17th, daily
- Atlanta – Oklahoma City from Dec. 17th, three daily roundtrips
- Atlanta – Omaha from Dec. 17th, three daily roundtrips
- Atlanta – Louisville from Dec. 17th, three daily roundtrips
Service from Atlanta to Oklahoma City and Louisville were previously suspended in 2016 and 2014, respectively. Now, Southwest is restarting these routes. In a press release, the airline’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Andrew Watterson, said the following:
“We’re rounding out our plan for this unprecedented year with our business travelers in mind with a fourth quarter schedule that brings them new routes across the country. We’re also offering more flights for all of our Customers in places such as Denver, Las Vegas, Nashville, and Phoenix. We anticipate business travelers will hit the road with a heightened focus on costs, so we’re pairing unmatched schedules with our value and Hospitality to welcome them back, whenever they’re ready to travel. Never before has Southwest been more primed to emerge as the preferred choice of corporate travel as the business climate across America begins its recovery.”
Taking on business travelers
Southwest Airlines has traditionally been a favorite for leisure travelers. With its flexibility and free checked bags, the airline now believes it can move into a new segment of travelers.
Southwest expects that business travelers will be focused on saving costs and thus be more inclined to choose the airline over the competition. So, Southwest is targeting some new markets to appeal to more travelers.
Long Beach expansion
Long Beach is a Los Angeles-area airport. Not as large as LAX, the airport is an operating base for JetBlue. However, in recent years, JetBlue has backed away from the airport, leaving room for expansion. Since the airport is cheaper to operate than LAX, Southwest can offer attractive fares from the airport.
Between Long Beach and Phoenix, Southwest will compete with American Airlines. While, on the route to Austin, the carrier will compete with the trendy JetBlue.
Going big in Atlanta
Southwest does not have a long history of its Atlanta base. The airline acquired the Atlanta base after purchasing AirTran Airways. On all three of these routes, Southwest will compete with Delta Air Lines– the largest airline in Atlanta.
Southwest is well-loved in the United States with its flexible booking policies and free bags. Now, the airline believes that it can offer lower costs than other airlines and attract business travelers. Although the airline’s planes are in an all-economy configuration, it can be a good choice for small businesses that still need to travel. Out of both Atlanta and Phoenix, Southwest has hubs optimized for connections. At the same time, it also shows that Southwest expects travel demand to start to rebound the winter.
Do you think Southwest is making the right move? Will you fly any of these new routes? Let us know in the comments!