MIAMI — Southwest Airlines has confirmed its intention to serve Calirfornia’s Long Beach Airport (LGB). The carrier formally filed this week for slot authority to offer new services at the airport. The slots became available when noise studies confirmed that Long Beach Airport could add nine daily flights without violating the city’s noise ordinance.
A report from the Long Beach Gazette said three airlines filed for slots at LGB. Southwest and JetBlue requested nine apiece, while Delta Air Lines applied for two.
During a Southwest Airlines employee rally in Las Vegas transmitted via Satellite to their peers in Los Angeles, Southwest President and CEO Gary Kelly commented “Long Beach would make it five for five in greater L.A. for Southwest and would give us another service point to fulfill our promise to connect our California Customers not only to what’s important, but also to where is important in planning business, vacation, or personal travel plans.”
According to Brett Snyder, from The Cranky Flier, “It’s surprising to think Southwest would even start service with just four slots unless it had designs on something bigger. And while Southwest can still back out, it made a big deal about this yesterday (…). It would sound pretty odd if Southwest backed away now even though it only has four slots.”
If approved, Long Beach Airport would be the fifth airport in Greater Los Angeles where Southwest provides service. Currently, the Dallas-based carrier offers flights from and to Los Angeles International Airport, Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, John Wayne Airport in Orange County and Ontario International Airport.
“This makes Long Beach an interesting battleground. American and Delta are happy serving their hubs and nothing more. But JetBlue has made no secret that it’ll only be happy in Long Beach if it can fly internationally. That’s an uphill battle that JetBlue probably just made tougher with this slot grab” Snyder said.