Southwest Airlines continues its assault on the Florida market, adding a total of seven new destinations for the winter season. Miami will see four routes added, while Palm Springs gets three. The airline has also revealed it will be flying to the ski resort of Montrose from December, connecting it to Dallas Love Field and Denver.
Four more routes out of Miami, three for Palm Springs
Southwest Airlines has unveiled more new routes for the winter season, adding another Colorado ski town and four new routes out of Miami. Plans have been laid for service into Montrose, as reported today in The Points Guy. These will operate from December 19th from Dallas Love Field and Denver.
Montrose becomes the second new winter destination to be added to Southwest’s repertoire in recent weeks. It joins Steamboat Springs in the airline’s new swathe of winter getaway flights, as it attempts to catch a share of the subdued travel demand, most of which are centered on outdoorsy, socially distanced destinations.
Southwest is also busy shoring up its position in Miami, bringing its services out of the Florida airport to four. These include four flights a day to Baltimore/Washington, one daily to Chicago Midway, up to four per day to Houston Hobby and up to three dailies to Tampa.
As well as the ramp-up in Miami, Southwest is adding services from Palm Spring also. It will fly once daily to Denver, up to twice a day to Oakland, and as much as three daily services to Phoenix. All the flights are already for sale on the airline’s website and mark a new-found confidence in an uptick in travel over the winter season.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
Building out at primary airports
Southwest revealed its plans to operate out of Miami and Palm Springs back in September. It sees these service additions as complementary to its long-held position of authority at nearby Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
It’s an unusual strategy for a low-cost airline, but one which we’re seeing increasingly taken up as the COVID pandemic drags on. Budget airlines typically operate out of secondary hubs, but this movement into primary airports has been a mark of the current crisis.
JetBlue, for example, has ditched its Long Beach base in favor of operating out of the major hub of Los Angeles International. Alaska Airlines responded with its own expansion out of LAX, while across the pond, the UK has seen budget airline Wizz making a home at London’s Gatwick airport.
These moves by low-cost carriers can sometimes bring something of a price war to major airports. Dubbed the ‘Southwest effect’, this can often mean lower prices for passengers, something that will be welcomed in the expected economic downturn to come.
However, Southwest may be reluctant to go head-to-head on price alone, as there is still a mountain to climb before the airline gets back to a cash positive position. Just this week, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly issued a stark warning to employees, laying bare the harsh reality of the current climate and stating that furloughs have not been ruled out.
Are you excited to see Southwest expanding in Miami? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.