Southwest Plans For 25 New Routes And Return To Costa Rica

Southwest Airlines is building up its route network this summer. With Costa Rica returning to the airline’s network, the airline is building up its leisure portfolio. Meanwhile, in the United States, Southwest will resume 24 routes and launch 25 new routes. These newly announced routes will start from early June.

Southwest Boeing 737-700
Southwest is resuming flights to Costa Rica and expanding heavily domestically. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Southwest returns to Costa Rica

Daily service to Costa Rica will begin on June 6th, 2021. From William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) in Houston, Texas, Southwest will fly daily to Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. A second daily flight to Costa Rica will run to Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO), serving San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica.

Seasonal service from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) will run to LIR this summer. The nonstop flights will run on Saturdays. Baltimore to Costa Rica service starts on June 12th.

Southwest Boeing 737-700
Passengers can connect from other destinations through Houston and Baltimore to fly to Costa Rica. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Costa Rica is open to US citizens. The country requires inbound travelers to provide proof of a medical insurance policy to cover quarantine or medical treatment. Double-check entry requirements before leaving for your trip, as restrictions can change based on the public health situation.

International destinations have been slower to come back to Southwest’s network. The airline plans to fly all of its international destinations by the end of 2021, assuming that the demand environment is far improved and travel restrictions come down. According to Southwest, the markets it is currently serving abroad are seeing strong demand.

Southwest Airlines 737-800
Costa Rica is one of the few destinations open for Americans. Photo: Getty Images

A domestic expansion on the horizon

Southwest’s summer schedule is getting a boost with 25 new routes and 24 existing routes. The 25 new nonstop routes will start from June 6th:

  • Austin (AUS) to Chicago O’Hare (ORD) with daily flights
  • Boise (BOI) to Orange County (SNA) with daily summer seasonal flights
  • Cleveland (CLE) to Sarasota (SRQ) with Saturday-only seasonal summer service
  • Columbus (CMH) to Panama City, Florida (ECP) with Sunday-only seasonal summer service
  • CMH to Miami (MIA) with Saturday-only seasonal summer service
  • Cincinnati (CVG) to Ft. Myers (RSW) with Saturday-only seasonal summer service
  • CVG to SRQ with Saturday-only seasonal summer service
  • Denver (DEN) to Midland (MAF) six days a week (no flights on Saturday); seasonal summer service
  • DEN to Savannah (SAV) with Saturday-only service
  • DEN to SRQ with daily summer seasonal services
  • Indianapolis (IND) to ECP five times per week (no flights on Tuesdays or Wednesdays); seasonal summer service
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to ORD on Saturdays and Sundays
  • Spokane (GEG) to SNA with daily summer seasonal flights
  • HOU to Destin/Ft. Walton Beach (VPS) with Sunday service
  • Houston (IAH) to Tampa (TPA) with Saturday and Sunday service
  • IND to MIA with Saturday-only seasonal summer service
  • Kansas City (MCI) to MIA with Saturday-only seasonal summer service
  • MCI to SRQ with Saturday-only summer seasonal service
  • MCI to VPS with Sunday-only flights
  • Milwaukee (MKE) to MIA with Saturday-only seasonal summer service
  • New Orleans (MSY) to MIA with service six days per week (no Saturday service)
  • Reno (RNO) to SNA with daily summer seasonal flights
  • St. Louis (STL) to SAV with Sunday-only flights
  • STL to SRQ with daily flights
  • STL to VPS with Saturday and Sunday flights
Southwest new routes
Southwest has planned 25 new routes this summer. Rendering created at Great Circle Mapper

Meanwhile, 20 domestic and one additional international route is coming back from June 6th:

  • Nashville (BNA) to Omaha (OMA) with Sunday-only service
  • BOI to Dallas (DAL) with six-times-per-week service (no Saturday service); summer seasonal
  • BOI to Chicago (MDW) with daily seasonal summer services
  • Buffalo (BUF) to RSW with Saturday-only seasonal service
  • CLE to FLL with Sunday-only seasonal service
  • Cancun (CUN) to Pittsburgh (PIT) with Saturday-only seasonal service
  • DAL to Harlingen (HRL) with daily seasonal summer service
  • DEN to Norfolk (ORF) with daily seasonal summer service
  • FLL to Louisville (SDF) with Sunday-only seasonal summer service
  • GEG to MDW with service six times per week (no Saturday flights); summer seasonal
  • HOU to RNO weekday service on a seasonal summer schedule
  • Washington (IAD) to Orlando (MCO) with Saturday-only service
  • Jackson (JAN) to MCO on Saturdays and Sundays; summer seasonal
  • MCI to San Antonio (SAT) with Sunday-only service
  • MCI to Seattle (SEA) with Saturday-only seasonal summer service
  • MCI to SNA with daily summer seasonal service
  • MCO to Richmond (RIC) with Sunday-only seasonal service
  • OMA to TPA with Saturday-only service
  • RSW to SDF with daily summer seasonal-flights
  • San Diego (SAN) to TPA with weekday service on a seasonal summer schedule
  • SNA to STL with daily service
Southwest REsuming Routes
The summer routes resuming this June. Rendering created at Great Circle Mapper

Targeted growth

Southwest has been focused on rebuilding its leisure schedule. Additional flights will come to Cancun and Los Cabos in Mexico and Montego Bay in Jamaica. Southwest will fly 22 departures to/from Cancun on Saturdays from 13 cities in the US.

Increased daily flights will come to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU). From here, daily flights will run to MCO, MDW, and TPA. Puerto Rico is a domestic destination in the Caribbean.

Southwest Boeing 737
Southwest Airlines is focusing on leisure markets. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

In March, Southwest significantly expanded its domestic schedule, adding about 1,000 flights almost overnight. In addition, the airline has added plenty of new destinations and has more on the horizon. That has helped contribute to an increase in the airline’s capacity.

All of those new cities have been doing very well for the airline, and so far, those new destinations look like permanent additions for Southwest. As a result of the new destinations, Southwest’s route network will look different, and the airline is not afraid to add new routes where it can.

Southwest Boeing 737-700
While Southwest is flying nearly all of its June 2019 capacity in 2021, its route network will be very different thanks to new destinations and routes. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

For example, this June, Southwest will fly 96% of its June 2019 available seat miles (ASMs), which is essentially 96% of the carrier’s capacity from 2019. that capacity will be deployed in different markets, including alongside new routes.

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For example, Miami is getting plenty of love from Southwest with four new routes. Southwest has been in Miami since November. Meanwhile, more mature Southwest markets like Denver and Kansas City are getting three new routes and other returning routes, indicating residual strength in existing markets.

Southwest Boeing 737
Not all markets are created equal, but many of Southwest’s largest bases are coming back quickly. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

One of the biggest takeaways from this latest expansion is that Southwest is starting to repair its point-to-point network. Through the crisis, the airline pivoted slightly away to take on more connecting passengers in a bid to keep its planes full. Transit passengers are still a large chunk for the airline, but the new summer expansions should help fuel a return to point-to-point.

Are you excited about this Southwest expansion? Will you fly any of the new or returning routes? Let us know in the comments!