Southwest Airlines will launch 10 new routes when it begins flights to Chicago O’Hare and Colorado Springs early next year, two of nine new destinations that it is adding to its map during the coronavirus pandemic. The carrier will debut with five routes at each the cities.
Flights to Chicago O’Hare (ORD) begin in February with introductory one-way fares beginning at $39, Southwest said Wednesday. Flights to Colorado Springs (COS) begin a month later, with one-way fares beginning at $29. Tickets are on sale now for the new flights.
Gary Kelly, CEO of the Dallas-based carrier, has described expanding Southwest’s map during the pandemic as “playing offense” in an effort to gain U.S. marketshare coming out of the crisis. Flights to Miami (MIA) and Palm Springs (PSP) begin in November; ski destinations Montrose (MTJ) and Steamboat Springs (HDN) in Colorado begin in December; and Chicago O’Hare; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH); Jackson, Mississippi (JAN); and Savannah (SAV), Georgia, in 2021.
Southwest will begin service to O’Hare with 20 daily flights on Feb. 14:
- Dallas Love Field (DAL) four-times daily
- Denver (DEN) six-times daily
- Phoenix (PHX) twice daily
The new flights complement the carrier’s existing base at Chicago Midway (MDW) airport on the city’s south side. On Oct. 22, Kelly said capacity limits at Midway blocked Southwest from growing there and prompted the expansion to O’Hare on the north side of the city.
“If we don’t move now, we risk never getting in there,” he said.
The carrier begins service to Colorado Springs with 13 daily flights on March 11:
- Chicago Midway twice daily
- Dallas Love Field three-times daily
- Denver four-times daily
- Las Vegas (LAS) twice daily
- Phoenix twice daily
Colorado Springs flights expand Southwest’s presence in the Front Range region of Colorado, a roughly 175-mile long corridor stretching from Pueblo in the south to Fort Collins in the north. At the region’s center is Denver, where the airline already has a large base.
Southwest continues to fly far less than it flew a year ago owing to the coronavirus. During the three months ending in December, it plans to fly roughly 35% less than in the same period in 2019.
The airline hopes to resume flying at 2019 levels by the end of 2021, said Kelly earlier in October. However, it expects a full recovery in air travel from the pandemic to take longer.
Southwest has not released schedules for its new flight flights from Houston Intercontinental, Jackson or Savannah.
Featured image by John Gress Media Inc/Shutterstock.
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