Southwest seems to be the only domestic carrier having any fun these days. Between their new code-share agreements, expansion into Minneapolis and general profitability (though not so much last quarter), they appear to be avoiding the difficulties that other carriers have been experiencing of late. Yes, they are cutting capacity overall, but they seem to be doing so with much more surgical precision than other carriers who are leaving markets completely and otherwise flailing about.
And now, Southwest has gone and made a bid to serve NYC’s LaGuardia airport. They’re bidding on the 7 slot pairs that ATA still owns in their bankrupt state. They are pretty much the only asset ATA still has and they are a huge asset. Southwest wants them, and they have the resources to bid on them, so things look pretty positive for their chances. It is not a done deal yet – the bids still need to be reviewed and a decision made by the bankruptcy judge – but things look pretty good on that front.
Where will Southwest fly with their 7 flights/day? It is hard to know for certain, though Chicago-Midway seems likely as one destination. And there will certainly be struggles for Southwest to operate in the LaGuardia structure, with the frequent delays, troubles in bad weather and slot details all affecting their operations. But 7 flights is certainly enough to have a significant impact on the other carriers in NYC, and that is a good thing for passengers. It also means that I might have the opportunity to consider Southwest now for some flights, which would be a big change for me.