Southwest Airlines To Resume International Services From July

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Today, Southwest Airlines extended its published flight schedule. The airline has now updated its plan to resume select international services this July as well as domestic services going from October 31st, 2020, to January 4th, 2021. Less severely affected by the pandemic due to its focus on domestic routes, Southwest’s latest move anticipates business rebounding in the coming months.

MAX8 Southwest wing view
Southwest’s growth was stunted in 2019 with the 737 MAX grounding and extended into 2020 with the global health crisis. Photo: Southwest

As announced on its website, the new services offer travelers in key Southwest cities additional flights and new routes. These should benefit both business travelers and leisure travel during the holidays.

“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.” – Andrew Watterson, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer

International schedule updates

While Southwest Airlines is monitoring conditions in order to resume international service, it has decided to go ahead with re-starting service to Mexico and the Caribbean, serving the following cities as of July 1st:

  • Cancun (Mexico)
  • San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos (Mexico)
  • Havana (Cuba)
  • Montego Bay (Jamaica)
  • Nassau (Bahamas)

Southwest says that services to its other international destinations will resume pending the easing of government restrictions.

Southwest
Southwest had to announce cuts of over 500 flights per day due to the pandemic. Photo: Southwest Airlines

From November and December

From November 1st, Southwest is adding some new services out of Long Beach, California. The airline will head to Phoenix, Arizona, three times daily, as well as once daily to Austin, Texas. On the same day, the airline will start service between Ontario, California, and Houston (Hobby), Texas. This flight takes place once daily, with the exception of Saturdays.

The following day, on November 2nd, the airline will commence six times weekly service between Nashville and Orange County/Santa Ana, California. This service takes place once a day, except for Sundays.

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737
We’re still waiting to see if the airline’s new Boeing 737 MAX will fly some of these routes as re-certification of the type is underway. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Towards the end of 2020, Southwest Airlines will offer more frequencies and more nonstop flight options from the cities of Phoenix, Denver, and Nashville. Passengers making trips to and from Atlanta appear to also benefit from the new schedule as well:

Below are some of the highlighted non-stop routes effective December 17th, 2020:

  • Phoenix and Memphis, Tenn. – Once-daily
  • Denver and Birmingham, Ala. – Once-daily
  • Denver and Wichita, Kan. – Once-daily
  • Denver and Little Rock, Ark. – Once-daily
  • Atlanta and Oklahoma City – Three roundtrips daily, this restores nonstop service previously offered in 2016
  • Atlanta and Omaha, Neb. – Three roundtrips daily
  • Atlanta and Louisville, Ky. – Three roundtrips daily, this will restore nonstop service previously offered in 2014

Southwest also mentions Las Vegas as a city benefitting from more services. However, the airline doesn’t include details of this in its press release.

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Conclusion

Southwest says its focus is primarily on business travelers, saying in the press release:

“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…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.” 

We’ll just have to wait and see if Southwest’s focus on business travelers pays off in the coming months.

So what do you think of Southwest’s plan to resume services? Is it too optimistic, too conservative, or just right? Let us know in the comments.

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