Southwest Airlines yesterday revealed that it would be launching flights to two new airports pending government approval. While exact routes and schedules are yet to be announced, the expansion would see the airline targeting the holiday destinations of Miami and Palm Springs.
The coming months are expected to be reasonably grim for United States airlines. Without additional funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, airlines are expected to start cutting services and furloughing staff. However, while many are eyeing schedule cuts, Southwest Airlines is looking to up its offering.
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Two new destinations
As part of hits weekly video to employees, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly covers a range of topics. However, this week one of his focuses was on new destinations for the airline. The American LCC is planning to expand its route network to include both Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) and Miami International Airport (MIA).
Commenting on the new routes to these leisure destinations, Kelly said,
“Each airport fits our route system exceptionally well. Palm Springs is a great California destination. Southwest has long carried more Customers to, from, and within the Golden State than any other airline. Just as we serve multiple airports in metro areas across the country, South Florida is ripe for another.”
Not the only Southwest flights to Miami
Flying to Miami may seem like a no brainer as Southwest. Kelly commented that the airport already sees Southwest’s Boeing 737s flying in every week. However, these aircraft don’t have passengers aboard. Instead, they are being flown in for the airline’s maintenance program. With the airline already flying planes into the airport anyway, it seems a no brainer to add the destination to the network.
In 2018 Miami International Airport was the third busiest in the United States in terms of international passenger traffic. Meanwhile, when domestic traffic is also taken into account, the airport sits at number 14 for busiest US airports in 2019.
Commenting on Southwest’s pending arrival, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department CEO, Lester Sola said,
“Southwest’s expansion to Miami International Airport is one of the most significant milestones in our 92-year history as an airport.”
In this expansion, Southwest seems to be targeting leisure passengers as opposed to those traveling for business. Kelly mentioned that adding these two airports will “bring us access to additional revenue at a critical time.” He said that the destinations are very popular, and the airline is matching its available fleet to the demand.
As things stand, the airline is yet to reveal precisely what flights it will operate, and from where, although we do know that they will be flown by the Boeing 737. For the time being, Southwest Airlines is offering the middle seat free on all of its flights. As the airline has no assigned seating, instead, it is capping seat sales on each aircraft at 66%.
What do you make of Southwest’s new destinations? Will you find them useful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!