Southwest Airlines adds 3 more cities to its ever-growing route map

Mar 8, 2021

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Southwest Airlines’ route map keeps growing. The budget giant announced on Monday that it intends to add three more cities to its ever-expanding network, using the pandemic as an opportunity to grow its reach.

The three newest cities are Bellingham, Washington (BLI); Eugene, Oregon (EUG); and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (MYR).

In a message to employees, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the three new destinations allow the company to “continue our focus on putting our aircraft to work to pursue more Customers and much-needed revenue.”

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He described the additions as “three very different and appealing locations to both serve our existing Customers and places where we feel Southwest can make a real difference for local travelers.”

Southwest has not yet announced start dates or the routes it intends to fly from the cities, but it did give an indication about when to expect service to start.

For Myrtle Beach – the South Carolina destination known for golfing and beaches– Southwest said flights should begin “in time for summer vacations and we expect our arrival to appeal to travelers who currently drive to this very popular coastal area in the Southeast.”

Service to Eugene and Bellingham is expected to begin in the second half of 2021.

Even more growth: Southwest expands again, adds Colorado Springs, Jackson and Savannah

In announcing flights to Bellingham, Southwest noted that the city sits just south of the U.S. border with Canada and is a relatively short drive to downtown Vancouver – one of Canada’s most populous cities that’s only about 50 miles from the BLI airport.

“Following the reopening of the Canadian border, we expect a return of the value-minded travelers who already drive to this alternative airport to escape high fares and taxes,” Kelly said in a statement, leaving little doubt that Southwest expects its BLI service to draw heavily upon Canadian customers.

Overall, the three new cities give Southwest a whopping 17 new destinations that have been added or announced since the pandemic began to affect the United States.

It was just two weeks ago that Southwest had announced two more new cities: Destin/Fort Walton Beach (VPS) in Florida and Bozeman (BZN) in Montana.

Featured photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

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