MIAMI — On Wednesday, Southwest Airlines launched flights to nine new nonstop destinations from its home in Dallas. These destinations include: Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis, Ind.; Memphis, Tenn.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Panama City Beach, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Jose, Calif.; and Seattle, Wash. On Saturday, Southwest will also launch new nonstop weekly service to Charleston, S.C.
Since Southwest was able to acquire two more gates at Love Field, the airline now has the space to operate these additional flights. However, this meant that United had to move all of its operations to Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport.
“These flights continue a major expansion of our offerings from Love Field,” said Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “By the end of the summer, we’ll be operating service to 50 destinations nonstop in nearly every region of the country from Dallas.”
The battle at Dallas Love Field is still brewing as Delta continues to fight for gate space. The airline is currently leasing space from Southwest, since it has 18 out of the 20 gates at Love, and Virgin America has the remaining two.
Meanwhile, the summer travel season is quickly approaching.
“Our June and July schedule is the biggest in our history with as many as 3,800 flights a day,” said Andrew Watterson, Southwest’s Vice President of Network Planning & Performance. “What we’re announcing today is an additional investment in many of our long-time communities. We’re connecting our Customers to what’s important to them– more seats at our low fares, our great Customer Service and policies, and better schedules through nonstop options.”
Although this is Southwest’s largest schedule that it plans to operate, the pressure is on to operate it very efficiently, especially after the operational issues it faced in 2013 that caused many delays and cancellations. There was a demand for Southwest, according to the Cranky Flier, and it had two options; it could operate its existing schedule or try to squeeze in a few more flights. Unfortunately, the airline chose the later.
According the The Cranky Flier, the operations group told the scheduling team that Southwest could operate a tighter schedule based on previous performances. So, that’s what the carrier did. The carrier’s flights became consistently late due to mechanical and weather issues. It took for some time for Southwest to fix the operational issues, but now, it said it has fixed the operational issues.