Southwest Boosts Denver and St Louis

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.

Southwest Grows in Denver and St Louis

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.

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17 Comments on "Southwest Boosts Denver and St Louis"

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matt robb
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nice to see southwest adding another nonstop flight to my home airport of OKC

Shane
Guest

So glad I don’t have to deal with STL airport anymore. SWA can have that wretched place.

David SF eastbay
Member

I can see building up STL as there is room to grow there now that TWA isn’t around and AA is killing the rest of what was TWA service.

DEN doesn’t make sense unless company ‘pride’ is behind it all. WN can’t become the top dog there and it must be hurting their pride so they are increasing service so it makes things look good.

Denver-Hartford? Maybe there is a reason UA doesn’t fly nonstop. If it can’t fill a jet from DEN-BDL with all the western USA feed it brings to DEN, can WN?

Andrew
Guest
Shane wrote: So glad I don’t have to deal with STL airport anymore. SWA can have that wretched place. Seriously. I don’t see the appeal for WN whatsoever. Dollars to doughnuts I bet they pull back on that route commitment within a year. And Denver? Good luck with that. Frontier has been blanketing local media with advertising — the feel good sort of, “we made it!” style — cute campaign with the animals on the tails animated and singing “Still The One.” Combined with a lot of very positive press (huge narrative feature on their bankruptcy journey in the Denver… Read more »
Nate
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CF, United is also starting service between STL and SFO in February using an A319 – which means the return of Mainline to STL – which is ironic, they just laid ** all ** the Mainline staff off, only to bring them back.

david
Member

It seems SWA doesn’t want to back down for their once grand plans in Denver. They might have something else up their sleeves. Could have come up with a good plan when trying to buy Frontier and they are still going for it, even though they didn’t get them.

It will be interesting to see what happens!

David

eponymous coward
Guest

“Seriously. I don’t see the appeal for WN whatsoever.”

It’s a fairly large urban market that can likely support some point-to-point flights at a lower cost structure than AA’s, which pretty much fits WN’s model to a T. Seems pretty simple to me. This is what WN’s done in SJC, OAK, BDL, BNA, RDU, PIT and any number of places that legacies have abandoned..

The difference with DEN is UA and F9 aren’t going away anytime soon… but I think WN isn’t conceding DEN, for whatever reason, even though maybe they should and look to greener pastures.

jordan
Guest
Im a little confused, as to why people are so taken back by what WN is up to in DEN. Maybe its a lack of understanding; how airlines “certain” airlines work, and a misunderstanding of DEN! WN is in an outright fight for DEN. Can they win it. YES!!! They can throw the kitchen sink, and house at DIA if they choose to! Why? Because they CAN! haha! They have never lost a huge battle. Call it Texan pride or whatever. This airline has ALOT of money! …and I mean ALOT!! they can afford to take substantial losses! Im not… Read more »
Shane
Guest
It would seem odd for Southwest to throw more into Denver when there are other fairly good sized cities that would be easier pickings with less or diminishing competition similar to Saint Louis (Cincinnati seems to have an abundance of empty gates). However, is it possible that in their exploration to purchase Frontier they saw something in their books or business plan or load factors that they found encouraging? Perhaps they realized from Frontier that they don’t need to spend the money to purchase Frontier to beat them out of the market. They could sustain $3-4million dollar quarterly operational losses… Read more »
no stl for me
Guest

Nothing the airlines do at StL will improve boardings UNTIL the fiasco/problems with TSA are fixed.

Allen
Guest
“They just keep growing this thing, but I’ve yet to see a good justification for why.” –Crank Flyer Sounds like a couple blog posts or even articles could be spent delving into this one. To me at least, there’s a big difference between good justification and profitability. I’d be curious if these aren’t enough to constitute good justification : * DIA is the main airport for the Front Range’s 4+ million residents. Colorado Springs is the only exception for scheduled passenger service. The areas population is projected to grow to over 6+ million over the next two decades * UAL… Read more »
muggedinstlbytsa
Guest

Southwest would have to use all their political clout to get the crooks and liars that run and staff that scary,hateful, lazy TSA at STL cleaned out and replaced with some actual security staff, not a bunch of East St. Louis gangsters…for anyone to want to fly out of there with them!

RobG7aChattTN
Guest
I think Frontier/Midwest/Republic may not be in as great a shape as some folks seem to think. Yeah, Frontier has made money in Denver. Guess what? That’s easy to do with bankruptcy protection especially if you’ve cut all your employee’s wages. That won’t last. Republic will be experimenting with their new operation and that’s pretty risky in the airline industry. I bet that if oil jumps up to $120/barrel or if Republic loses their contracts with the legacy carriers then they will go out of business. They don’t really have much cash on hand and they can’t bleed red ink… Read more »
Allen
Guest

CF –> Thank you for the responses.

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