Southwest Airlines to start flights from St Louis to Boston, Minneapolis in January 2010

Thursday, September 3, 2009, 15:05 by Jose Philip

The United States-based Southwest Airlines has decided to raise, across its system, the number of flights on 42 routes (by one trip a day, as a rule) and cut one flight a day on 92 other routes between January 9, 2010, and March 12, 2010.Southwest Airlines said it would add direct services from St Louis to Boston and Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport in January 2010.

The airline, which had started flights to Minneapolis St Paul International Airport in March 2009 and to Boston Logan International Airport on August 16, 2009, is launching its first non-stop flights from St Louis to Minneapolis and Boston.

The carrier also will suspend flights temporarily on 3 routes – between Albuquerque (New Mexico), and Portland (Oregon); and between Manchester (New Hampshire) and Phoenix (Arizona). These two services will resume in February 2010.

Flights between Kansas City and Seattle (Washington) will be suspended in January 2010 and resumed in May 2010.

However, Southwest Airlines’ schedule of 130 daily departures at Dallas Love Field Airport in Texas will not be changed in the revamp for the winter.

In a statement, Southwest Airlines, the budget airline based in Dallas, Texas, the United States, said that these changes have been made with the twin objectives of coping with the decrease in demand for air travel and to match its schedule with seasonal demand.

Bill Owen, chief scheduler of Southwest Airlines, said the airline is revamping and adjusting its schedule for “seasonal travel patterns” to make it more efficient – with the Pacific North-west routes being stronger in the summer and to boost service in cities where the carrier recently launched service.

According to Owen, though Southwest Airlines has grown steadily through most of its 38 yeas of existence, traffic fell by 2.2% in the first half of 2009.

While the airline hopes to add flights to four new cities in 2009, it would operate around 6% fewer flights in 2009 than in 2008, he added.

At present, Southwest Airlines, the biggest low-fare carrier in the United States, operates around 3,300 flights a day.

The airline is in the process of cutting available seats by 6% and trimming down its workforce by 1,400 (or 4 %) through what is known as “voluntary buyouts.”