The first routes will be from Baltimore/Washington International, Chicago Midway, Dallas Love Field, Houston Hobby and Nashville.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said while reporting the company’s financial results last month that the airline is adding nine new destinations over the next three quarters, including Sarasota/Bradenton in Florida and Savannah. He said that can help generate more revenue with minimal extra cost, and puts “idle aircraft and excess staff back to work.” And, he said, “I’m happy to play offense.”
Southwest is known as a low-cost carrier with a mostly domestic route network and a relatively strong financial position. Large network carriers like Delta, American and United have historically reaped the biggest profits from corporate travelers and international flight networks — some of the hardest hit travel sectors amid the pandemic.
Kelly said last month that “we’ll just be blatant about this. This is an opportunity for us to gain share, to get back quicker than our competitors to where we were in terms of our operation.” He said Southwest is “the best suited for the current environment, which is more heavily weighted towards the consumer and leisure travel.”