LONDON – American low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines (WN) last week announced an extended flight schedule from October to January 4, 2021.

The carrier published its flight schedule detailing the new routes and announcing additional flights for its customers of some of its existing routes.

Andrew Watterson, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, commented on the schedule, stating how this unprecedented time meant changes can be made.

“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. We’re also offering more flights for all of our customers in places such as Denver, Las Vegas, Nashville, and Phoenix,”

“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.”

The announcement is part of a business plan that will help the carrier continue to operate in a new post-COVID-19 world where airlines must adapt and overcome challenges that have never been presented on such a scale before.

PHOTO: Southwest Airlines.

With the invertible drop in leisure travel not just in the U.S but around the globe, WN has looked to adapt to a more business traveler orientated market by partnering with Travelport.

This will help bring the carrier’s business-relevant content to the GDS (Global Distribution Service), something the carrier says will mean “travel decision managers can book, modify, and manage their organization’s travel at their fingertips.”

New schedules for the Fall and Winter

Southwest is looking to the end of 2020 to increase their non-stop service options and add a more robust schedule for its business travelers with new flight frequencies and more options being added from Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Nashville. 

Photo: Stephen M. Keller

Watterson added, “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,”

In addition to the new non-stop service options, WN will increase its reach out of Long Beach, offering a three times daily service from Long Beach to Phoenix and a one times daily service between Long Brach and Austin. The carrier has confirmed that these news services will be available from November 1, 2020.

The final new route announced to start on November 2, 2020, will see WN add new nonstop service once a day (except Sundays) between Nashville and Orange County/Santa Ana, Calif.

New Routes for Atlanta and Denver 

(Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren)

The sweeping changes and new routes will not stop there, however, as WN has confirmed it will be operating seven new non-stop service links between cities across the U.S. 

The published list of new and existing routes service frequencies is as follows:

  • 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, reestablishing nonstop service previously offered in 2016
  • Atlanta and Omaha, Neb. – Three roundtrips daily
  • Atlanta and Louisville, Ky. – Three roundtrips daily, reestablishing nonstop service previously offered in 2014

These new routes and increases on existing ones will allow WN to better serve the demands of business and leisure travelers across the U.S. over the rest of 2020. It is a sign of commitment from the carrier to continue to place itself as an important tool for business in the North American country.

New domestic services were not all that the carrier announced last week, also confirming that it would be looking to make changes and continue to monitor conditions on 14 international destinations on the its route network.  

Southwest currently plans to resume service to Mexico and the Caribbean via Cancun, San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Havana, Montego Bay, and Nassau from July 1.

However, the carrier said it would continue to monitor the situation and would resume flights based on the easing of government restrictions for travel.

With these route changes and announcements, it is likely that we will see more airlines follow the same trend that WN is setting, focusing on business travelers as the main source of passenger traffic for the rest of 2020.

But with so much uncertainty surrounding the aviation industry, it is yet to be seen if these changes will help the airlines survive these turbulent times.