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TravelSouthwest adds 7 new routes, phases out 4 others in latest network...

Southwest adds 7 new routes, phases out 4 others in latest network shake-up

Southwest Airlines is making another round of changes to its route map.

This one includes seven new routes, though they come at the expense of four that are either being cut or significantly scaled back in the coming months. This network shake-up was first seen in Cirium Diio schedules and later confirmed by a carrier spokesperson.

Southwest is making a big play in Las Vegas with the addition of three new routes from Harry Reid International Airport (LAS).

From LAS, the airline will add service to Albany and Rochester in New York and Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Albany flight begins Aug. 5, while the other two routes commence Oct. 3.

In addition to the new Vegas routes, Southwest will add service in the following four markets.

  • Nashville to Birmingham, Alabama, starts Nov. 3.
  • Miami to Islip, New York, starts Nov. 3.
  • Kansas City, Missouri, to Sacramento, starts Oct. 3.
  • Phoenix to Birmingham, Alabama, starts Nov. 3.

However, it’s not all good news for Southwest’s network. For one, the airline is canceling service between Fort Lauderdale and Islip (and moving this route to Miami).

The airline will also phase out three other routes earlier than planned. Flights from Kansas City to Minneapolis will stop after the Sunday following Thanksgiving.


Meanwhile, starting in August, service from Denver to Eugene, Oregon, and Santa Barbara, California, will only be operated on certain weekends through the end of the year. (These flights were originally scheduled to be operated at least once a day into 2025.)

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And then, once the calendar turns to 2025, Southwest will scrap these Denver routes entirely.

Interestingly, six of the seven new routes are currently uncontested, Cirium schedules show. Southwest’s only competitor will be ultra-low-cost carrier Allegiant Air on the Las Vegas-to-Grand Rapids flight.

Without competition, the airline likely thinks it can convince flyers to take its new nonstop flights (or connect onward to other destinations via its bases). But whether these new services will fill up is another question.

There were, on average, 65 passengers a day flying from Vegas to Albany or from Vegas to Rochester in 2023, according to Department of Transportation data. The route between Kansas City and Sacramento seems to have had the highest historical demand, with around 95 passengers per day flying between these cities in 2023. (The Nashville-to-Birmingham route had just about two passengers a day.)

Southwest operates just one type of jet — the Boeing 737 — of which the smallest variant holds 143 travelers. The airline likely has targets in mind for these flights, but it remains to be seen how they will perform.

For its part, Southwest said that “this is a continued focus: optimizing the usage of our People and planes to serve our Customers with relevant air service.”

This latest move is a bit unusual for Southwest’s network planning team. Historically, the airline has made big route updates in tandem with schedule extensions. However, given that the company hasn’t been performing as well as it had before the pandemic and the ongoing delivery delays from Boeing, the airline is probably seeing more of a need to make quick pivots.

Commenting on Southwest’s lackluster first-quarter performance, CEO Bob Jordan said succinctly that “network and capacity changes will continue.”

Just last month, Southwest announced that it would drop four cities from its network, a rare move that the airline has historically tried to avoid. The carrier also added four new routes but cut two others in April.

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