Southwest Will Get $2.5mn In Incentives For Colorado Springs Flights

Southwest Airlines is adding new flights to Colorado Springs in early 2021. With 13 daily flights to five destinations, the airline is going big. Backing these new flights are incentives that local officials and private donations have come up with, totalling $2.5mn to help Southwest’s Colorado Springs flights be successful.

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$2.5 million is a handsome sum for the carrier to launch new Colorado Springs flights. Photo: Getty Images

Southwest Airlines and incentives for Colorado Springs flights

KRDO in Colorado Springs reported last week that Southwest Airlines would be getting $2.5 million in financial incentives to launch flights from Colorado Springs. The airline had recently shown a lot of interest in adding flights to Colorado Springs, and executives from the airline even visited the city before adding the flights.

Obviously, they were impressed by Colorado Springs, which has an array of options for tourists. In a recent update, KRDO reported that the El Paso County commissioners approved $300,000 for Southwest Airlines, with a similar amount expected to come from the Colorado Springs City Council. However, much of the $2.5 million is from private donations to bring Southwest to the airport.

The Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (COS) is not the first airport that comes to mind when people think of flying to Colorado. However, it is one of the best places in the state for many natural excursions, such as a trip to the Garden of the Gods for hiking, Pikes Peak, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park, and so much more. For avgeeks, there is also The Airplane Restaurant, which is a sit-down eating establishment inside an intact Boeing KC-97 tanker.

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Southwest, which flies skis for free, should be a popular one for skiers looking to hit the slopes near Colorado Springs. Photo: Getty Images

However, Colorado Springs was not on Southwest Airlines’ route map for quite some With the announcement of 13 new daily flights, it is clear that the airline is going big, but it is also receiving financial incentives to launch the flight. In addition to the incentives, the airline is also in an aircraft surplus position, which was another big factor in putting COS on Southwest’s route map.

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The new Colorado Springs flights

The 13 daily flights will begin on March 11th, 2021. Out of COS, Southwest will be flying to Denver four times a day, Las Vegas twice a day, Phoenix twice a day, Dallas-Love three times a day, and Chicago-midway twice a day.

All of the early flights are scheduled on Boeing 737-700 aircraft, the smallest planes in Southwest’s fleet. However, in the future, it would not be surprising to see Southwest add more flights using 737-700s, or else upgauge those flights to a 737-800 or, once the MAX is ungrounded, a 737 MAX 8.

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Southwest is also projecting confidence with 13 daily flights out of Colorado Springs. Photo: Getty Images

Financial incentives are nothing new in the industry

Plenty of airlines get support from new destinations. Financial incentives can help an airline cover some of the losses that may come from selling tickets below-cost or else launching aggressive marketing campaigns until airlines can operate flights at a profit.

One of the most prominent incentives program in the United States is the Essential Air Service (EAS). The EAS program is run by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). It subsidizes flights to small cities in the United States that would otherwise not be profitable for airlines.

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An aircraft surplus position also helped land Colorado Springs on Southwest’s route map. Photo: Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, subsidies for new routes are a point of contention in the industry for various reasons. Some people consider them unfair by supporting a competitor while other airlines “tough it out” on their own. In contrast, others view it as a necessary incentive to bring new players to a market that could benefit passengers looking to fly to or from a destination.

Do you think airlines should get incentives to add new routes? What do you make of the incentives for Southwest? Let us know in the comments!