MIAMI — Southwest Airlines received the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approval to start flights from Oakland International Airport to San Jose del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, thus becoming the first American carrier to serve these routes.

The announcement comes just three weeks after the application and announcement of the carrier to serve these new routes. If approved by the Mexican government, flights would start in February 2017.

“As we constantly look at new opportunities to connect Bay Area travelers with fun and exciting places in their lives, these Mexico beach destinations have long topped the list,” said Dave Harvey, Southwest Airlines’ Managing Director of Business Development.

Southwest Airlines already announced flights to both Mexican cities from Los Angeles (LAX), set to start on November 6, 2016, as part of its international expansion out of LAX that commenced this year with a service to Liberia, Costa Rica.

“Oakland will become our 13th gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean from the mainland in February and, with a new bilateral agreement becoming effective later this month, there will be additional opportunities to bring our low fares and unmatched value on numerous additional U.S. – Mexico routes.” Harvey said.

Currently, Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris is the sole carrier that offers scheduled services from Oakland to four Mexican cities—Guadalajara, León, Morelia, and Tijuana—plus a seasonal flight to Mexico City.

In order to cope with this international growth, The Port Authority of Oakland is undertaking a major renovation of Terminal One, including a new security checkpoint and check-in and arrivals area for international flights, to be completed in the second quarter of 2017.

This project is further complemented by a modernization and expansion of the federal inspection station (FIS) for U.S. Customs & Border Protection services, to be completed in the third quarter of 2017.

More flights to Houston and Fort Lauderdale

Starting on March 9, 2017, Southwest will add daily service between Omaha and Houston Hobby, competing with United Airlines, which currently offers a nonstop flight to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Besides this new Omaha – Houston service, Southwest has also announced a daily service between Newark and Fort Lauderdale, thus competing directly with JetBlue, which currently serves three daily flights on the route.

This coming weekend, on Sunday, August 7, 2016, we will be covering Southwest’s inaugural service from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau. Be sure to follow us via @airwayslive on twitter!