Mon, Dec 22, 2008
Where Will Southwest Go?
Interviewed Wednesday by the
Associated Press, Southwest Airlines Chief Executive Gary Kelly
predicted "decent odds" the carrier will add a third major hub to
its schedule by next fall. Southwest recently announced its
intentions to begin service to
Minneapolis-St. Paul next March and
New York's La Guardia by
In its search for a new destination, Kelly said the airline will
be evaluating the efficiency, on-time performance, and cost
management of prospective airports. "Efficiency at the airport is
the key, and when we find that - that will be the sweet spot,"
The announcement of new service comes at the same time
some of Southwest's flights to other airports are being
cut in response to rising costs and shrinking
demand. Kelly said, "We want to continue to grow customers and to
grow routes while adjusting to the realities of the world."
While the airline is primarily focused on domestic routes, Kelly
spoke of the possibility of securing more codeshare partnerships,
for Hawaiian and Caribbean destinations. Earlier this year,
Southwest reached agreements with
WestJet, for service to Canadian destinations,
Volaris, for service to Mexican destinations,
slated to begin by late 2009 and early 2010, respectively.
Kelly said Southwest "would love to have a codeshare in Europe
or Asia, but no work is underway" at this time for transcontinental
partnerships, the AP reported.
Alluding to the global recession and frozen credit markets,
Kelly said, "We have slowed our growth dramatically this year, and
just in time. We are prepared to act in 2009."
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