Southwest adds 3 new routes, boosts summer frequencies on others
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Southwest Airlines on Tuesday announced three new routes as well as significant frequency boosts to others. The moves are part of an adjustment to the carrier’s summer schedule to manage increasing business travel demand along with the growing strain on airline networks left thin by pandemic-era cuts.
The airline will launch a once-daily service between Sacramento (SMF) and Santa Barbara, California (SBA), and daily flights between San Jose, California (SJC), and Eugene, Oregon (EUG), both beginning June 5.
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Also on June 5, Southwest will begin flying between Maui (OGG) and Kauai (LIH), Hawaii, with a daily frequency.
In addition to the new routes, Southwest said it was adjusting frequencies across its network to boost frequencies in some West Coast markets.
Flights from San Diego (SAN) to Sacramento, San Jose, and Oakland (OAK) will increase, with as many as 20 weekly flights between the cities. Service will be gradually increased throughout the summer on flights between San Jose and Las Vegas (LAS), Long Beach (LGB), Orange County (SNA), Boise (BOI), Spokane, Washington (GEG), Portland, Oregon (PDX) and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA).
Southwest said it also planned to increase frequencies on some of its intra-island Hawaii routes between Honolulu (HNL) and Maui, Hilo (ITO), Kona (KOA) and Kauai, as well as flights between Kona and Maui.
The frequency increases and new routes were intended to appeal to business travelers, a segment that Southwest has been eager to court, David Harvey, vice president of Southwest’s business travel unit, told TPG at the CAPA Airline Leadership Summit conference last week in advance of the details being disclosed. Southwest executives have previously said that it planned to focus in 2022 on boosting frequencies to improve reliability. The airline expanded to 18 new markets in 2021.
To facilitate the increased service on the routes announced on Tuesday, Southwest pulled some capacity from other routes, although it only pulled frequencies from routes when there would be at least one other daily flight between the city pairs, a spokesperson for the airline told TPG.
Customers on flights that have been affected by the airline redeploying capacity will be automatically rebooked on another flight, and can check their reservation or contact the airline to be rebooked if they prefer a different time.
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