Southwest Airlines Bets on New York LaGuardia Following Newark Exit
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Southwest Airlines has big plans to grow at New York LaGuardia after it ends flights to Newark Liberty this fall.
The Dallas-based airline plans to add seats at LaGuardia (LGA) by shifting flights to its largest planes, the Boeing 737-800 and the 737 MAX 8, once the latter returns to the skies, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said Thursday during the company’s quarterly earnings call.
By doing so, Southwest could grow its seats at LaGuardia by as much as 10% to 20% in coming years, added Kelly.
“[New York is] two relatively small operations today that we’ll consolidate into a much more efficient, and arguably larger, operation at LaGuardia,” he said.
The carrier has just 35 slot pairs at capacity controlled LaGuardia. In aviation vernacular, a “slot pair” is the equivalent of one round-trip flight. So, with 35 slot pairs, Southwest is able to offer 35 daily round-trip flights at the airport.
But while the slots limit Southwest’s ability to add flights at the airport, they do not dictate what aircraft it operates on those flights.
In July, the vast majority of Southwest’s flights to LaGuardia – more than 96% – were scheduled on the 737-700, according to Diio by Cirium schedules. The balance were flown with 737-800 aircraft.
The airline outfits its 737-800s with 175 seats, 32 more than on its 737-700s, its website shows.
Southwest would need to shift about 45% of its LaGuardia flights to the 737-800, with the larger aircraft operating about half of its schedule at the airport, to grow seats by 10% as Kelly said.
Even with a 20% increase in seats, Southwest will be smaller in New York without its Newark flights. The carrier would need to grow seats at LaGuardia by more than 43% to replace all of its Newark capacity, Diio schedules show.
Southwest was one of the first airlines to move into the new Eastern Concourse in Terminal B at LaGuardia in December. The facility is larger than the 1960s-era concourses it replaces, which allows airlines to operate larger aircraft to the airport.
Featured image by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.