Dallas-based Southwest Airlines continues to weed out weaker-performing routes as part of a flight optimization scheme introduced roughly two years ago.

Carrier CEO Gary Kelly during a 16 April earnings call said Southwest's August schedule published this week has 72 fewer flights than the carrier's January offerings.

In the two years since undertaking the flight optimization Southwest has eliminated 500 flights from its schedule, roughly about 15% of its daily departures from August 2007.

The carrier says it has redeployed about 300, or roughly 10%, of those flights to its new markets including San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, New York and Boston. Southwest plans to launch service from those last two destinations later this year.

Kelly calls Southwest's new Minneapolis market "an immediate contributor". The carrier launched flights from the Delta-Northwest stronghold to Chicago-Midway last month, and plans to add service from Minneapolis to Denver in May.

The carrier's CEO says Southwest is hoping to mimic Minneapolis's strong initial performance at LaGuardia in late June and Boston in August.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news