Southwest Airlines is eyeing a variety of regional routes for its new service to Long Beach, fresh off its win of four slot pairs at the southern California airport.
The Dallas-based carrier could use the slots to add four daily flights to the San Francisco bay area, where it has a base at Oakland International airport, or to other regional points where it has a large presence, like Las Vegas or Denver, says David Harvey, senior director of network planning and performance at Southwest.
“We’re excited to extend our LA [Los Angeles] basin product to Long Beach,” he says at the Routes Americas forum in San Juan today.
Southwest serves the four other commercial airports in the region: Burbank, Los Angeles International, Ontario International and Orange County.
The airline received four of the nine available pairs at Long Beach in a slot allocation by the city earlier in February. Delta Air Lines receive two pairs and JetBlue Airways three.
Asked whether four daily flights are economically feasible for Southwest to operate – it typically enters new markets with five to 10 flights – Harvey unequivocally says yes.
“Over time, I think we’d be interested in a little bit larger footprint,” he adds.
Airline operations in Long Beach are limited by a noise ordinance that was adopted in 1990, with the number of slots regularly re-evaluated based on the amount of noise generated by aircraft.
JetBlue is the largest airline in Long Beach, where it has its west coast base. Dave Clark, vice-president of network planning at the airline, says it intends to use its three new slot pairs for frequency increases and potentially a new route.
Source: Cirium Dashboard