I know I just wrote about Southwest yesterday, but the news keeps coming. This time, it’s not a new city but rather, putting a couple of existing cities on steroids. Both St Louis and Denver are growing. One of these, I like a lot. Wanna guess which one?
You’re probably not surprised to know that it’s St Louis that makes the most sense to me. With American’s pull down and the airport’s decision to get aggressive with incentives, it was only a matter of time before someone would come in and start cherry-picking the good routes. It looks like Southwest is the first to stake a decent claim. They’ve already announced flights to Boston and Minneapolis, and now they’re adding a third daily to the latter before it even starts. They’ll also be starting service from St Louis to six new cities in May.
There will be two a day to LA and Nashville alongside one a day to New Orleans, Raleigh/Durham, Seattle, and San Diego. What’s interesting here is that LA and Seattle are two of the nine cities to which American will continue flying from St Louis . . . for now. (Notice that Southwest is also starting service to two former American hubs – Nashville and Raleigh/Durham.) Hmm, looks like Southwest not only wants to fill in what American has ditched but also wants to push American out the rest of the markets. Smart move.
The other airport receiving new service is Denver, and that’s probably not a surprise considering how bullish Southwest has been. I honestly don’t get this one. They must see something that the rest of us don’t, because I don’t see United or Frontier going away any time soon and their results haven’t exactly been stellar there so far.
There will be a single daily nonstop to five new markets in March – Hartford, Boise, Ontario, Detroit, and Washington/Dulles. In May, LaGuardia will get a single Saturday-only flight (they don’t have enough slots to do more frequent flights). In addition, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Tulsa, New Orleans, Portland (Oregon), Oakland, Baltimore, and Seattle will get one additional daily flight. (All of those start in May except for Oklahoma City in March.)
Of these new markets, only Hartford doesn’t have nonstop service from another carrier at this point. Boise is served by both Frontier and United, Detroit is served by Frontier, and Ontario and Dulles are served by United. They just keep growing this thing, but I’ve yet to see a good justification for why.
I don’t think this is going to require a big expansion – they’re probably just reallocating airplanes from elsewhere again. One, I like. The other, well, not so much.