Southwest Airlines adds 16 new routes, including from Houston and Long Beach

Dec 10, 2020

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Southwest Airlines announced 16 new daily nonstop routes on Thursday as the carrier extended its booking schedule into August.

Included in the latest update are Southwest’s schedules for Houston Bush Intercontinental and Jackson, Mississippi – two cities it’s returning to after an extended absence – and a big expansion in Long Beach, California. Southwest also revealed new daily routes from Miami and Phoenix.

Southwest’s service from Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH) will begin April 12 with 18 daily round-trip flights to five nonstop destinations: Chicago Midway, Dallas Love, Denver, Nashville, New Orleans.

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To Denver, Southwest will go head-to-head with United on a route between two of that rival’s busiest hubs. Southwest will begin its Denver-Houston Bush Intercontinental schedule with three daily round-trip flights. United’s current schedule shows 11 daily weekday round-trips in April.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly sounded undeterred about taking on United when asked about it Tuesday during an online webinar with The Wings Club of New York, noting Southwest is already strong in both markets.

Southwest has long flown from Houston Hobby south of the city, where it already offers eight daily round-trips flights to Denver.

Exlusive TPG Q&A: Southwest CEO Gary Kelly chats about his legacy, new cities and change fees

But Kelly predicted the new service from from Intercontinental on the city’s northside would expand its Houston marketshare by appealing to the metro area’s suburbs there, “where there’s been a lot of growth. We don’t really tap into customers in those zip codes with Hobby.”

“We have existing customers in the Houston area that will likely prefer to use Intercontinental, “he said. “We’ll win some new customers. We’ll have customers in Denver that would prefer to fly to Bush instead of Hobby.”

Southwest last served Houston Bush Intercontinental in 2005.

Elsewhere, Southwest’s return to Jackson will come June 6, when the airline will begin flying seven daily flights from the Mississippi capital to three destinations (Atlanta, Baltimore and Houston Hobby). Southwest previously flew from Jackson from 1997 to 2014.

More: Southwest Airlines CEO says Miami push part of long-term strategy, not ‘pandemic play’

In California, Southwest announced five new routes from the Long Beach Airport near Los Angeles. Flights to Chicago Midway, Dallas Love, Houston Hobby, St. Louis and Reno will begin March 11.

The expansion will give Southwest a total of 13 nonstop destinations from Long Beach, including previously announced Honolulu service that debuts March 11.

Phoenix also scored a win in Southwest’s latest schedule update, landing a new international route with service to Cancun, Mexico. That will begin April 12 and complement the carrier’s existing international routes between Phoenix and the Mexican beach resorts of Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta.

And Southwest is adding even more routes at two new Florida cities that just joined to its route map.

From Miami – which Southwest began serving in November – new flights to Denver and Nashville begin March 11. And, in Sarasota – which won’t see its first Southwest flights until February – Southwest is already planning three more routes that will fly only on Saturdays. That service – to Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio – begins March 13.

More: Southwest adds Sarasota, makes it 10 new cities in coronavirus expansion

Scroll down for full breakdown of the new routes included in Southwest’s latest schedule update.

Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH)

Chicago Midway (MDW): 2 daily round-trip flights

Dallas Love (DAL): 6 daily round-trip flights

Denver (DEN): 3 daily round-trip flights

Nashville (BNA): 3 daily round-trip flights

New Orleans (MSY): 4 daily round-trip flights

All routes begin April 12

More: Southwest Airlines expands again, adds Jackson and two other cities

Jackson, Mississippi (JAN)

Atlanta (ATL): 3 daily round-trip flights

Baltimore (BWI): 1 daily round-trip flight

Houston Hobby (HOU): 3 daily round-trip flights

All routes begin June 6

More: Southwest unveils Steamboat Springs routes, adds new destination during pandemic

Long Beach, California (LGB)

Chicago Midway (MDW): 1 daily round-trip flight, increases to two daily flights on April 11

Dallas Love (DAL): 1 daily round-trip flight

Honolulu (HNL): 1 daily round-trip flight (previously announced)

Houston Hobby (HOU): 1 daily round-trip flight, increases to two daily flights on April 11

St. Louis (STL): 1 daily round-trip flight

Reno (RNO): 1 daily round-trip flight

All routes begin March 11

Miami (MIA)

Denver (DEN): 2 daily round-trip flights begin March 11

Nashville (BNA): 2 daily round-trip flights begin March 11

Phoenix (PHX)

Cancun, Mexico (CUN): 1 daily round-trip flight begins March 11

Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida (SRQ)

Columbus, Ohio (CMH): Saturday-only service begins March 13

Indianapolis (IND): Saturday-only service begins March 13

Pittsburgh (PIT): Saturday-only service begins March 13

Featured image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

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