MIAMI – Southwest Airlines (WN) today announced plans to expand its footprint in Chicago and Houston. Service to O’Hare International (ORD) and George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) airports is anticipated to begin in the first half of 2021. Details, including schedules and fares, will be available soon.

The new flights from ORD come alongside existing service from the carrier’s longtime Chicago home, Midway International Airport (MDW). Midway remains one of the busiest airports in Southwest’s network.

The return to IAH complements Southwest’s substantial operation at Houston Hobby (HOU). Intercontinental served as one of three airports at which Southwest operated on its first day, June 18, 1971. The carrier moved to HOU shortly thereafter, though it operated service from both airports between 1980 and 2005.

Carrier celebrates Disney•Pixar’s All-New Adventure in High-Flying Style. PHOTO: Southwest Airlines.

Comments from CEO Gary Kelly

“Southwest owes decades of success to our employees and customers who have supported our business in Chicago and Houston,” said Gary Kelly, WN Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman.

“Today’s announcement furthers our commitment to both cities as we add service to share Southwest’s value and hospitality with more leisure and business travelers.”

The airport expansion announcement comes on the heels of WN’s launch of service to Miami and Palm Springs and other holiday destinations.

Featured image: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800. Photo: Eddie Maloney.