Tag Archives: 7377H4

Southwest to aggressively bid for AA-US slots at the Washington Reagan National Airport

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) will bid aggressively for landing and takeoff slots at Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA) that are being divested by American Airlines-US Airways according to this report by Reuters. American Airlines-US Airways are giving up 52 slot pairs at DCA. Southwest currently has 32 slots at DCA.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Southwest’s Boeing 737-7H4 WL N443WN (msn 29838) with the special “The Spirit of Hope” markings banks on the river approach into DCA.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Southwest and Virgin America interested in buying AA-US slots at New York LaGuardia

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) and Virgin America (San Francisco) are interested in buying the slots at New York (LaGuardia) that American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix) have agreed to give up with the DOJ for the merger approval according to Reuters.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Southwest Airlines’ Boeing 737-7H4 WL N216WR (msn 32488) with “Free Bags Fly Here” extra markings departs from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Virgin America: AG Slide Show

Southwest reports a record 3Q net profit of $241 million

Southwest Airlines Company (Dallas) reported its third quarter 2013 results:

  • Record third quarter net income, excluding special items*, of $241 million, or $.34 per diluted share, compared to third quarter 2012 net income, excluding special items, of $97 million, or $.13 per diluted share. This was in line with the First Call consensus estimate of $.34 per diluted share.
  • Record third quarter net income of $259 million, or $.37 per diluted share, which included $18 million (net) of favorable special items, compared to net income of $16 million, or $.02 per diluted share, in third quarter 2012, which included $81 million (net) of unfavorable special items.
  • Return on invested capital* (before taxes and excluding special items) for the 12 months ended September 30, 2013, of 11 percent, as compared to 7 percent for the 12 months ended September 30, 2012.
  • Cash and short-term investments at September 30, 2013, of $3.3 billion.
  • Cash flow from operations of $428 million, and capital expenditures of $268 million, resulting in $160 million in free cash flow* in third quarter 2013.
  • The Company returned approximately $178 million to Shareholders during third quarter 2013 through the payment of $28 million in dividends and the repurchase of approximately $150 million in common stock under an accelerated share repurchase program executed in September 2013. Since August 2011, the Company has repurchased approximately $1.1 billion, or approximately 111 million shares, under its $1.5 billion share repurchase authorization.

Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are very pleased to report a record third quarter earnings performance.  Our People delivered very strong year-over-year earnings growth as we continued to transform our Company for the future.  Our continued focus on strategic initiatives is paying off, and I am very proud of our outstanding Employees for a very solid third quarter financial performance.

“Third quarter revenues were also a third quarter record, with total operating revenues per available seat mile (unit revenues) increasing 4.5 percent year-over-year.  Especially considering our increase in stage length and seat density, this is a very strong performance.  Further, we continue to have a high number of markets under development as we convert AirTran routes into Southwest routes and optimize our combined networks.  Finally, about 15 percent of our system is still operating under the AirTran brand.  As the network stabilizes in the future, AirTran becomes fully converted, and fewer schedule changes are made, this should provide a further boost to unit revenues.  While unit revenue trends were impacted by the recent government shutdown, current bookings for the combined November/December holiday period are strong.

“We are on track with our plan to fully integrate AirTran into Southwest Airlines by the end of next year, and we expect to achieve approximately $400 million in annual net pre-tax synergies in 2013.  Our efforts to optimize our connected networks continued during third quarter, with the conversion of AirTran’s service at Grand Rapids Gerald R. Ford International Airport to Southwest.  Southwest’s entrance to western Michigan doubled the service previously offered by AirTran, with a total of six daily nonstop departures to Baltimore/Washington, Orlando, St. Louis, and Denver.  We will take another significant step towards full integration with our November 2013 schedule, as we reschedule AirTran’s Atlanta flights into a point-to-point operation.

“Our plan to add international capabilities for Southwest in 2014 is on track.  We reached an exciting milestone last month with the ground breaking on Southwest’s first international terminal in our 43-year history.  The five-gate facility at Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, planned to open in 2015, will accommodate Southwest service to potential destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.

“Our fleet modernization efforts are continuing as planned.  During third quarter 2013, we placed one new Boeing 737-800 and two previously owned Boeing 737-700s into active service, and retired four Boeing 737-500 aircraft.  In addition, we transitioned the first of AirTran’s 88 Boeing 717-200s out of the fleet, and removed 11 more from active service in preparation for transition.  At the end of the third quarter, all Southwest Boeing 737-700s, 78 Boeing 737-300s, and 14 AirTran Boeing 737-700s converted to the Southwest livery had been retrofitted with the Evolve interior.  Following a two percent year-over-year increase expected this year, our available seat miles are not expected to increase year-over-year in 2014.  As we continue to execute our strategic initiatives, our priorities remain: optimize the network; run an excellent airline operation; provide outstanding and friendly Customer Service; and achieve and sustain our targeted financial returns.

“Our third quarter economic fuel costs declined 5.7 percent year-over-year driven by lower prices per gallon and less fuel consumed per available seat mile.  We currently expect another significant year-over-year decrease in our fourth quarter 2013 economic fuel costs.  Based on relatively stable current market prices and our existing fuel derivative contracts, as of October 21st, we expect our fourth quarter economic fuel price per gallon to be comparable to our third quarter 2013 economic fuel price per gallon.

“Excluding fuel, special items, and profitsharing, our unit costs increased slightly compared to third quarter last year, as expected.  Based on current trends and ongoing benefits anticipated from our fleet modernization efforts, we expect our fourth quarter 2013 unit costs, excluding fuel, special items, and profitsharing, to be roughly flat versus a year ago.

“It is imperative that we preserve our financial health and return value to our stakeholders.  Our balance sheet, liquidity, and cash flows are strong, and we are aggressively managing our debt and total invested capital.  Our People are exceptional and they are working exceptionally hard.  I am proud of them and these strong third quarter results.”

Awards and Recognitions

  • Ranked first Value Airline Brand of the Year in the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend Rankings
  • Named one of the Best Economy Class Flight Experience in 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest sponsored by USA TODAY
  • Ranked fifth on the International Council on Clean Transportation list of the most fuel efficient domestic passenger airlines

Financial Results

The Company’s third quarter 2013 total operating revenues increased 5.5 percent to $4.5 billion, while operating unit revenues increased 4.5 percent, on a 1.0 percent increase in available seat miles and an approximately 4.0 percent increase in average seats per trip, all as compared to third quarter 2012.  Total operating expenses in third quarter 2013 decreased 2.4 percent to $4.2 billion, as compared to third quarter 2012.  The Company incurred costs (before taxes) associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, which are special items, of $28 million during third quarter 2013, compared to $145 million in third quarter 2012.  Cumulative costs associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, as of September 30, 2013, totaled $391 million (before profitsharing and taxes).  The Company expects total acquisition and integration costs to be no more than $550 million (before profitsharing and taxes).  Excluding special items in both periods, total operating expenses of $4.1 billion in third quarter 2013 were comparable to third quarter 2012.

Third quarter 2013 economic fuel costs were $3.06 per gallon, including $.01 per gallon in favorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts, compared to $3.16 per gallon in third quarter 2012, including $.03 per gallon in unfavorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts.   Based on the Company’s fuel derivative contracts and market prices as of October 21st, fourth quarter 2013 economic fuel costs are expected to be in the $3.05 to $3.10 per gallon range, which is significantly below fourth quarter 2012’s economic fuel costs of $3.32 per gallon.  As of October 21st, the fair market value of the Company’s hedge portfolio through 2017 was a net asset of approximately $135 million.  Additional information regarding the Company’s fuel derivative contracts is included in the accompanying tables.

Excluding economic fuel expense, special items, and profitsharing in both periods, third quarter 2013 operating costs increased 2.0 percent from third quarter 2012, and increased 1.0 percent on a unit basis.

Operating income for third quarter 2013 was $390 million, compared to $51 million in third quarter 2012.  Excluding special items, operating income was $439 million in third quarter 2013, compared to $208 million in the same period last year.

Other income in third quarter 2013 was $29 million, compared to other expenses of $18 million in third quarter 2012.  This $47 million swing primarily resulted from $59 million in other gains recognized in third quarter 2013, compared to other gains of $10 million recognized in third quarter 2012.  In both periods, these gains primarily resulted from unrealized mark-to-market gains/losses associated with a portion of the Company’s fuel hedging portfolio, which are special items.  Excluding these special items, third quarter 2013 had $19 million in other expense, compared to $18 million in third quarter 2012, primarily attributable to the premium costs associated with the Company’s fuel derivative contracts.  Fourth quarter 2013 premium costs related to fuel derivative contracts are currently estimated to be approximately $22 million, compared to $3 million in fourth quarter 2012.  Net interest expense in third quarter 2013 of $30 million was comparable to third quarter 2012.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2013, total operating revenues increased 2.8 percent to $13.3 billion, while total operating expenses of $12.4 billion were comparable to the same period last year.  Operating income for the nine months ended September 30, 2013, was $893 million, compared to $532 million for the same period last year.  Excluding special items in both periods, operating income was $1.0 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2013, compared to $702 million for the same period last year.

Net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2013, was $542 million, or $.75 per diluted share, compared to $343 million, or $.45 per diluted share, for the same period last year.  Excluding special items, net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2013, was $569 million, or $.79 per diluted share, compared to $352 million, or $.46 per diluted share, for the same period last year.

As of October 23rd, the Company had approximately $3.6 billion in cash and short-term investments, and a fully available unsecured revolving credit line of $1 billion.  Net cash provided by operations during third quarter 2013 was $428 million, and capital expenditures were $268 million.  During third quarter 2013, the Company returned approximately $178 million to its Shareholders through the payment of $28 million in dividends and the repurchase of approximately $150 million in common stock under an accelerated share repurchase program with a third party financial institution.  On September 6, 2013, pursuant to the accelerated share repurchase program, the Company advanced the $150 million to the financial institution and received approximately 11.5 million shares of the Company’s common stock.  The specific number of shares that the Company ultimately will repurchase under the accelerated share repurchase program will be determined based generally on a discount to the volume-weighted average price per share of the Company’s common stock during a calculation period to be completed in fourth quarter 2013.  At settlement, under certain circumstances, the third party financial institution may be required to deliver additional shares of common stock to the Company, or under certain circumstances, the Company may be required to deliver shares of its common stock or may elect to make a cash payment to the third party financial institution.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2013, net cash provided by operations was $2.2 billion, and capital expenditures were $995 million, resulting in free cash flow of approximately $1.2 billion.  For the nine months ended September 30, 2013, the Company repurchased approximately $501 million in common stock, or approximately 38 million shares.  Since August 2011, the Company has repurchased approximately $1.1 billion, or approximately 111 million shares, of common stock under its $1.5 billion share repurchase authorization.  The Company repaid $267 million in debt and capital lease obligations during the nine months ended September 30, 2013, and intends to repay approximately $46 million more in debt and capital lease obligations during fourth quarter 2013.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Southwest Airlines’ Boeing 737-7H4 WL N781WN (msn 30601) “New Mexico One” arrives in Washington (Reagan National).

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines lands in Wichita, Kansas

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) officially landed in Wichita, Kansas.  Southwest’s first flight arrived at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport on Sunday, June 2, and the airline will offer nonstop service to Dallas (Love Field), Chicago (Midway), and Las Vegas.

Southwest has fully converted all flying from its wholly-owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways, over to Southwest, which previously offered three daily nonstop flights between Wichita and Atlanta.  With the introduction of Southwest’s all-Boeing 737 fleet to the market, passenger seat availability increases by 112 percent (over AirTran’s Boeing 717), an equivalent of 2,700 seats per week of additional low fares.

Southwest’s Wichita Service:

  • Two daily nonstop flights between Wichita and Dallas Love Field
  • Two daily nonstop flights between Wichita and Chicago Midway
  • One daily nonstop flight between Wichita and Las Vegas

Top Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Southwest Airlines’ Boeing 737-7H4 WL N727SW (msn 27859) in the Nevada One motif arrives at Las Vegas.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photos: Southwest Airlines (from the Nuts about Southwest blog):

ICT was excited to see WN and celebrated with not just one, but TWO cakes!
ICT Cake #1

ICT Cake #2

Ron Ricks and local mascots with our Make-A-Wish family

ICT Make a Wish Family

 

Southwest reports 1Q net profit of $59 million, establishes a “No Show” policy

Southwest Airlines Company (Southwest Airlines) (Dallas) today reported its first quarter 2013 results.  First quarter 2013 net income was $59 million, or $.08 per diluted share, which included $6 million (net) of favorable special items.  This compared to net income of $98 million, or $.13 per diluted share, in first quarter 2012, which included $116 million (net) of favorable special items. Excluding special items, first quarter 2013 net income was $53 million, or $.07 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $18 million, or $.02 loss per diluted share, in first quarter 2012.  This exceeded the First Call consensus estimate of $.02 per diluted share.  Operating income for first quarter 2013 was $70 million, compared to $22 million in first quarter 2012.  Excluding special items, operating income was $112 million for first quarter 2013, compared to $10 million in the same period last year.  Additional information regarding special items is included in this release and in the accompanying reconciliation tables.

Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “The significant year-over-year improvement in our first quarter results (excluding special items) was driven by record first quarter revenues and a better-than-expected cost performance.  On relatively flat available seat miles year-over-year, total operating revenues of $4.1 billion increased 2.3 percent, or 1.8 percent on a unit basis, compared to first quarter last year.   Passenger revenues were boosted significantly by continued progress on the AirTran integration, fleet modernization efforts, and the Rapid Rewards loyalty program.  Year-over-year passenger unit revenue trends were relatively stable through February, and while worse than expected, March passenger unit revenues outperformed the domestic industry, on a capacity adjusted basis. Soft revenue trends have continued, thus far, in April, and we expect a year-over-year decline in our April passenger unit revenues.  While we are cautious about April trends and the potential effects from government sequestration, recent bookings for May and June have been solid, and lower fuel prices have roughly offset the revenue weakness thus far in April.

“Based on market prices as of April 22nd, second quarter 2013 economic fuel costs, including fuel taxes, are expected to be in the $3.00 to $3.05 per gallon range, well below second quarter 2012’s $3.22 per gallon, including fuel taxes, and below the original forecast included in our 2013 plan1.  Also, we now have derivative contracts in place for the remainder of the year that support estimated fuel costs per gallon below our 2013 plan.  First quarter 2013 economic fuel costs were $3.29 per gallon, which was in line with our expectation, and 4.4 percent lower than first quarter 2012’s all-time high $3.44 per gallon.

“We are pleased with the early results from revenue initiatives implemented in first quarter 2013 and are excited about the incremental benefit expected for future periods.  We launched some of our new 2013 ancillary revenue streams, including selling open premium boarding positions at the gate, increasing our EarlyBird Check-In™ charge, and increasing certain other fees.

“We also phased in the ability for our Customers to fly connecting itineraries between the Southwest and AirTran networks, our top priority this year.  As of April 14th, all 97 destinations within the combined networks can be flown on a single itinerary, a key milestone of our AirTran integration. Bookings on these connecting itineraries, thus far, have been strong, giving us further confidence in our plan to achieve $400 million in net, pre-tax, AirTran synergies in 2013 (excluding acquisition and integration costs).  With connecting capabilities in place, our ability to optimize the combined networks and operations is enabled, particularly in Atlanta.  This is a significant milestone.  We are now in a position to evolve Atlanta to a point-to-point operation in fall 2013, similar to our other top ten Southwest cities.  This will allow our People to be substantially more productive through scheduling our aircraft, flight crews, and ground staff more constantly throughout the day.  Our November schedule (which will open next month) will offer our Atlanta Customers a wider selection of departure times throughout the day, with roughly the same number of daily departures.  We expect these changes will grow our local Atlanta traffic.

“We are enthused about planned initiatives for the remainder of the year.  Today, we are announcing details of a new No Show policy that will apply to Southwest reservations that include Wanna Get Away® or DING!® fares and are made on or after May 10, 2013, for travel on or after September 13, 2013.  The policy is intended to alter behavior, encouraging Customers to cancel unused nonrefundable fares prior to a flight’s departure, allowing us to better predict future inventory and reduce the number of empty seats on aircraft.  Also, later this quarter, we will implement phase one of our new revenue management system.

“While we continue to optimize our network and maintain a relatively flat fleet in 2013, we are also making excellent progress on our fleet modernization efforts.  Thus far this year, we have taken delivery of nine new Boeing 737-800s and two used Boeing 737-700s, retired three older Boeing 737-300s and one Boeing 737-500, and retrofitted more -700s with our new Evolve interior. As of
March 31, 2013, nearly 90 percent of the Southwest -700 fleet had the Evolve interior, and we expect to complete the remainder of the Southwest -700 retrofits in second quarter 2013.  Further, all of Southwest’s -800s and -700s are now equipped with WiFi technology.

“We began operating Southwest’s first scheduled service outside of the continental United States on April 14th, with daily service to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Orlando and Tampa Bay, Florida. These flights augment AirTran’s existing service between San Juan and Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore/Washington; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Since the beginning of the year, Southwest has also launched service to Branson, Missouri; Charlotte, North Carolina; Flint, Michigan; Portland, Maine; and Rochester, New York.  We are excited about our growing network and opportunities ahead. Further, as part of the Dallas Love Field Modernization project, we reached a significant milestone at our hometown airport with the opening of 11 brand new Southwest gates and new concessions on April 16th.  This impressive project is on budget and on track for full completion in second half 2014.

“Our balance sheet and liquidity remain strong with approximately $3.1 billion in cash and short-term investments at March 31, 2013.  Earlier this month, we replaced our $800 million revolving credit facility with a new $1 billion five-year revolving credit facility.  The $200 million increase enhances our liquidity and financial flexibility.  Despite the uncertainties surrounding the impact to travel demand from government sequestration and increased consumer taxes, we remain focused on our 2013 plan to achieve a 15 percent pre-tax return on invested capital.  In first quarter, we returned $115 million to our Shareholders through repurchasing $100 million of common stock (approximately 9 million shares) and distributing $15 million in dividends.”

No Show Policy

Southwest is implementing a No Show policy that applies to nonrefundable fares that are not canceled or changed by a Customer prior to a flight’s scheduled departure.  If a Customer has booked a nonrefundable fare anywhere in his/her itinerary and that portion of the flight is not used and not canceled or changed by the Customer prior to scheduled departure, all unused funds on the full itinerary will be lost, and the remaining reservation will be canceled. The policy applies to reservations made or changed on or after Friday, May 10, 2013, for travel on or after Friday, September 13, 2013. This policy does not apply to military fares, senior fares, or travel during certain irregular operations, including severe weather conditions.

The No Show policy will not impact Customers who simply cancel a Wanna Get Away or DING! fare prior to scheduled departure; in this case, Customers may reuse their funds toward future travel on Southwest, without a change fee, as they have always done. Customers who are traveling on a fully refundable itinerary that does not contain a Wanna Get Away or DING! fare will continue to have the option of either requesting a refund or holding funds for future travel.

Financial Results and Outlook

The Company’s total operating revenues in first quarter 2013 were $4.1 billion, compared to $4.0 billion in first quarter 2012.  Operating unit revenues increased 1.8 percent from first quarter 2012. Total first quarter 2013 operating expenses of $4.0 billion were comparable to first quarter 2012.  The Company incurred $13 million in special charges (before taxes) during the first quarters of 2013 and 2012 associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran.  Cumulative costs associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, as of March 31, 2013, totaled $337 million (before profitsharing and taxes).  The Company expects total acquisition and integration costs to be no more than $550 million (before profitsharing and taxes). Excluding special items in the first quarters of 2013 and 2012, operating expenses were approximately $4.0 billion in both periods.

First quarter 2013 economic fuel costs, including fuel taxes, decreased 4.4 percent to $3.29 per gallon, compared to $3.44 per gallon in first quarter 2012.  The Company now has derivative contracts in place for approximately 95 percent of its estimated fuel consumption for the remainder of the year.  As of April 22nd, the fair market value of the Company’s hedge portfolio through 2017 was a net liability of approximately $151 million, compared to a net asset of $200 million at March 31st.  Additional information regarding the Company’s fuel derivative contracts is included in the accompanying tables.

First quarter 2013 profitsharing expense was $15 million, compared to no profitsharing expense in first quarter last year.  Excluding fuel, profitsharing, and special items in both periods, first quarter 2013 unit costs increased 2.8 percent from first quarter 2012, which was better than expected largely due to lower workers’ compensation claims, favorable airport settlements, and lower advertising expense. Based on current cost trends, the Company expects a similar year-over-year increase in its second quarter 2013 unit costs, excluding fuel, profitsharing, and special items in both periods.

Operating income for first quarter 2013 was $70 million, compared to $22 million in first quarter 2012.  Excluding special items, operating income was $112 million for first quarter 2013, compared to $10 million in first quarter 2012.

Other income for first quarter 2013 was $24 million, compared to $137 million in first quarter 2012.  This $113 million decrease primarily resulted from $46 million in gains recognized in first quarter 2013, compared to $170 million in gains in first quarter 2012.  In both periods, these gains primarily resulted from unrealized mark-to-market gains/losses associated with a portion of the Company’s fuel hedging portfolio, which are special items.  Excluding these special items, other losses were $5 million in first quarter 2013, compared to $6 million in first quarter 2012, primarily attributable to the premium costs associated with the Company’s fuel derivative contracts.  Second quarter 2013 premium costs related to fuel derivative contracts are currently estimated to be approximately $12 million, which is comparable to second quarter 2012.  Net interest expense declined to $22 million in first quarter 2013, compared to $33 million in first quarter 2012, primarily as a result of the Company’s repayment of its $385 million 6.5 percent notes in March 2012.

Net cash provided by operations was $983 million, and capital expenditures were $534 million, resulting in $449 million in free cash flow2 in first quarter 2013.  The Company repaid approximately $164 million in debt and capital lease obligations during first quarter 2013, and intends to repay approximately $149 million in debt and capital lease obligations during the remainder of the year.  As of April 23rd, the Company had approximately $3.2 billion in cash and short-term investments, and a fully available unsecured revolving credit line of $1 billion.

The Company’s return on invested capital (before taxes and excluding special items) was approximately 8 percent for the twelve months ended March 31, 2013.  Additional information regarding pre-tax return on invested capital is included in the accompanying reconciliation tables.

Southwest Airlines Awards and Recognitions

  • Named seventh Most Admired Company in the world by FORTUNE Magazine
  • Recognized as the top travel brand and fifth overall brand by The Business Journals in the American Brand Excellence Awards
  • Named Domestic Carrier of the Year by the Airforwarders Association
  • Named to the Airline of the Year list by the Express Delivery and Logistics Association
  • Awarded the Air Cargo Excellence Diamond Award by Air Cargo World
  • Named number one in Customer Service by the 2013 Airline Quality Ratings
  • Recognized as one of the 2013 100 Best Corporate Citizens by CR Magazine
  • Awarded the Grassroots Innovation Award for the Free Hobby Campaign by the Public Affairs Council

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 WL N240WN (msn 32503) with “Live in the Vineyard” promotional decal arrives at Baltimore/Washington.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines launches Pittsburgh-Houston Hobby flights, arrives in San Juan

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has launched a new route from Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) to William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) in Houston.

The PIT-HOU schedule will include one flight daily.  Monday through Friday, it will depart PIT at 11:50 a.m., arriving HOU at 2:00. p.m. Saturdays it will depart PIT at 9:15 a.m. and on Sunday depart PIT at 12:00 p.m. Returning from HOU to PIT:  Sunday through Friday, the flight will depart HOU at 1:35 p.m. and arrive at PIT 5:35 p.m. Saturday, it departs HOU at 10:35 a.m. and arrives at PIT 2:29 p.m.

Southwest launched inaugural service to five cities on Sunday, April 14, 2013—the most cities the airline has ever opened in one day. Southwest, America’s largest airline in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, is expanding its footprint as part of the ongoing integration of its wholly-owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways.

As of April 14, 2013, Southwest Airlines Offers New Nonstop Service between:

  • Charlotte and Baltimore/Washington, Chicago (Midway), Houston (Hobby), and Orlando
  • Flint and Baltimore/Washington, Orlando, and Tampa Bay
  • Portland, Maine and Baltimore/Washington
  • Rochester and Baltimore/Washington, Chicago (Midway), Orlando, and Tampa Bay
  • San Juan and Orlando and Tampa Bay.

AirTran ceased service in Charlotte, Flint, Portland (Maine), and Rochester on April 13, 2013. AirTran will continue to offer service between San Juan and Baltimore/Washington, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, and Atlanta.  Southwest previously announced that the carrier will assume AirTran’s San Juan service to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood on Sept. 29, 2013.

Video: Southwest finally arrives in San Juan:

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. Boeing 737-7H4 WL N713SW (msn 27847) in the SeaWorld Adventure Park-Shamu special livery arrives at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico (replacing AirTran)

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) and its wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways announced an extension of flight schedules for travel through November 1, 2013. In extending both carriers’ bookable inventory, Southwest introduces four new nonstop routes, including the first Southwest service from Des Moines to the West through Las Vegas, and the return of seasonal service in three markets. The carrier also announced new Southwest Airlines service between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and San Juan, a conversion from AirTran service in the market, beginning on September 29, 2013.  Southwest Airlines begins its initial service in San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 14 with nonstop service between both Tampa Bay and Orlando.  AirTran introduces additional seasonal flying to and from Florida.

Southwest’s new markets:

  • Two daily nonstop flights between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and San Juan
  • One daily nonstop flight between Nashville and Pittsburgh
  • One daily nonstop flight between Atlanta and San Diego
  • One daily nonstop flight between Des Moines and Las Vegas
  • One daily nonstop flight between Jacksonville and Chicago

Southwest’s returning seasonal markets:

  • One daily nonstop flight between Indianapolis and Orlando
  • One daily nonstop flight between Jacksonville and Las Vegas
  • One daily nonstop flight between Orlando and Minneapolis-Saint Paul

AirTran’s new markets:

  • Seasonal service between Orlando and Houston (Hobby)
  • Seasonal service between Orlando and New Orleans
  • Seasonal service between Fort Myers and Columbus
  • Seasonal service between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Pittsburgh

Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 WL N944WN (msn 36659) with extra “Free Bags Fly Free” markings arrives on runway 9L at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

AirTran Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. The special AirTran schemes are not expected to survive the integration into Southwest. The pictured Boeing 737-7BD WL N354AT (msn 36725) in the special Georgia Aquarium  “Dolphin 1” scheme is due to become N7724A with Southwest.

Southwest Airlines and Row 44 reach the 400 aircraft mark, adds extra flights to New Orleans for the Super Bowl

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) and Row 44 announced today that the Row 44 inflight entertainment and connectivity service, which includes high-speed Internet, shopping, destination services, and real-time flight map with updates, has been installed on 400 Southwest aircraft.   In addition, Southwest offers Row 44’s live television service across all Wi-Fi equipped aircraft.

Now available on Southwest aircraft installed with Wi-Fi, the live television service features nine channels of live news and sports, which includes NBC Sports, NFL Network, NFL Red Zone, MLB, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, Fox Business News and FOX-NYC.  Passengers with Wi-Fi-enabled devices can stream the live television service.  Importantly, the Row 44 live television service utilizes a distinct band transmitted to the aircraft, and therefore does not interfere with Internet connectivity.

In other news, Southwest and subsidiary AirTran Airways are adding extra flights to New Orleans for the Super Bowl on February 3, 2013.

Southwest Airlines Additional Service on Jan. 31:

  • Two daily nonstops from San Francisco to New Orleans.
  • Two daily nonstops from Baltimore/Washington to New Orleans for a total of four daily nonstop departures.

AirTran Airways Additional Service on Jan. 31:

  • One daily nonstop from Atlanta to New Orleans for a total of five daily nonstop departures.

Southwest Airlines Additional Service on Feb. 4:

  • Two daily nonstops from New Orleans to San Francisco.

The airlines added other flights, but due to high demand, the service is already sold out.

Southwest Airlines Additional Service on Feb 4:

  • Two daily nonstops from New Orleans to Baltimore/Washington for a total of four daily nonstop departures (sold out).

AirTran Airways Additional Service on Feb 4:

  • Two daily nonstop departures from New Orleans to Atlanta for a total of six daily nonstop departures (sold out).

In addition, Southwest Airlines’ Bay Area Customers can fly existing service from Oakland to New Orleans with seven daily direct flight options.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Boeing 737-7H4 N907WN (msn 36619) arrives at Baltimore/Washington.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

AirTran Airways to fly Denver-Los Cabos starting on March 10

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) and its wholly owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways, have announced new international flights between Denver International Airport (DEN) and Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) in Baja California, Mexico.

AirTran’s daily service on the new route begins on March 10, 2013.

AirTran Airways also currently serves SJD Los Cabos International Airport with daily service to/from Orange County (increasing to twice-daily as of June 2, 2013) and has flights between other destinations in the US and both Cancun and Mexico City.

Southwest Airlines began service to Denver on January 3, 2006, with 13 daily departures to three destinations.  The airline currently operates 163 daily flights to 54 destinations from Denver.  Southwest recently demonstrated its LUV for the state of Colorado by dedicating Colorado One, a specialty aircraft painted with the colors of the Colorado state flag (see below).

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Boeing 737-7BD N290AT (msn 33925) of AirTran Airways completes its final approach into Los Angeles.

AirTran Airways: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo (click on the photos for the larger view): Mark Durbin. Colorado One in the form of Boeing 737-7H4 N230WN (msn 34592), taxies at San Francisco.

Southwest Airlines files for DCA slot exemptions for Houston Hobby-Washington Reagan National authority

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) today announced it has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for slot exemptions that would allow Southwest to offer nonstop service between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU).  The proposed service is possible due to Spirit Airlines’ discontinued use of the slot exemptions, which are available for use inside Washington National’s traditional 1,250 mile service perimeter.

Southwest’s application points out that current average fares for nonstop service between Houston and Washington National are more than 60 percent higher than Southwest’s average nonstop fare between Houston and Baltimore/Washington International (BWI), a similar distance. Southwest projects that its proposed HOU-DCA service would attract tens of thousands of new Passengers and save consumers millions of dollars annually.

As part of the effort to bring a low-fare alternative to the HOU-DCA market, Southwest is unveiling www.Southwest.com/HOU-DCA.

A decision by the DOT is expected in the first quarter of 2013. Southwest is prepared to begin service this spring if awarded the slots.

Southwest has served Houston since June 18, 1971, and currently has more than 2,700 HOU Employees serving 143 flights every day. Earlier this year, the Houston City Council approved the carrier’s proposal to construct a new five-gate international facility at Hobby Airport. This new service is scheduled to begin in 2015.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Boeing 737-7H4 N281WN (msn 36528) with special 500th Boeing 737 Aircraft markings arrives at Washington (Dulles).

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show