Southwest to Serve LaGuardia

By | April 7, 2009
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Previously announced service by Southwest Airlines out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport will begin June 28th. Southwest’s current gateway to the New York area is Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip, where the airline operates 26 flights a day. The airline added a flight there in November, but plans to cut two in May.

There is some concern that Southwest may choose to further downgrade its Islip service now thatit has space at LaGuardia, but we think there is still demand, especially for the leisure destinations Southwest serves from Islip into Florida.

Southwest will operate five daily flights between LaGuardia and Chicago – Midway and three to Baltimore-Washington, operating out of the Central Terminal’s Concourse B. Southwest only acquired seven departure slots at the airport, but was able to add an additional flight by having it depart before 7AM and return after 10PM, the period when the slot contrls are in place.

Bringing the Southwest brand to New York City proper is a significant step for the airline, which is providing service to its strong hubs. Both Chicago and BWI have the opportunity for significant point-to-point traffic and connecting service to 45 additional destinations.  While the Southwest effect, whcih predicts fares will drop when Southwest moves onto a route is still in play here, Southwest will be competing with Delta, American, United, and US Airways on these routes and there will be blood.

We predict US Airways may choose to abandon or cut the route, which is one of the last vestiges of their BWI hub. Certainly it would be consistent with their previous reactions to Southwest. We doubt some of the other carriers need to, as some are flying to alternate airports in the same city, and not everyone wants to go to BWI or Midway. But it will bring their fares down.

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