The Wright Amendment may not be fully retired for another 36 weeks yet, but Southwest is ready to get started in adding new routes from Love Field in Dallas. As of 13 October 2014 there will no longer be restrictions on which states flights can go to from the airport for the first time in 35 years. For the airport’s main tenant that means a previously unheard of level of opportunity to grow their operations. And, as of today, we know where some of the flights are going to land.
The first round of additions will come on 13 October as five new routes are added to the map. Nonstop service will be available from Dallas to Orlando, Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago-Midway and Baltimore/Washington.
The second round of growth will happen on 2 November as ten more non-stop routes are added: New York-LaGuardia, Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa, San Diego, Phoenix, Los Angeles-LAX, Orange County, Ft. Lauderdale and Washington DC (Reagan National).
While the new routes have been announced they are not yet for sale, nor are the number of daily flights or schedules available; that information is expected to be released in May.
With only 20 gates available in the new terminal the total capacity for flights will decrease slightly as the number of possible destinations grows. Southwest controls 16 of those gates and will operate approximately 140 daily flights with the new routes in place, up from 127 daily departures today. CEO Gary Kelly, speaking at the press conference announcing the new routes, indicated that the airline could peak at about 160 daily departures given the gate constraints. Southwest will remain, by far, the dominant carrier at Love Field, though United and Delta will continue to operate from Love as well; American Airlines is giving up their gates at Love Field as part of their merger with US Airways. Delta has similarly announced 22 new flights for October serving Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Los Angeles and New York-LaGuardia. Delta does not yet have the gates it needs to operate those flights but it hopes to gain access via American’s divestiture to be able to make the new routes viable.
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