From the Nuts For Southwest blog, Southwest has announced the destinations it intends to serve this year from Washington Reagan using the slots acquired as part of the American Airlines/US Airways merger and the required divesting of slots by DOJ to approve the merger. Here’s the full list:
Effective August 10 (available on March 21)
- Chicago/Midway 6 new flights (New market)
- Nashville 3 new flights (New market)
- New Orleans 2 new flights (New market)
Effective September 30 (available on March 21)
- Chicago/Midway 3 added trips (9 total)
- Tampa Bay 2 new flights (New market)
Effective November 2(available on May 19)
- Akron/Canton TBD
- Dallas/Love Field TBD
- Houston/Hobby TBD
- Indianapolis TBD
- St. Louis TBD
It’s ultimately a mixture of new service for customers and (mostly) competing service with existing airlines such that Southwest may encourage lower pricing on these routes, though Southwest isn’t the low-cost carrier they used to be.
Chicago is already served from DCA, but Midway isn’t. Those familiar with Chicago won’t consider much difference between the two airports if you’re headed downtown. Midway has been renovated and is a pleasant enough airport to land at, connected to downtown by train just like O’Hare.
Nashville is already served by US Airways, as is New Orleans, Tampa, Akron, Indianapolis and St. Louis.
Dallas is served by US/AA, but at DFW, not DAL. Houston is served by United, though at Bush, not Hobby.
Southwest has existing service to Austin, Fort Myers and Atlanta that doesn’t have competition.
Thinking selfishly, I would have preferred an expansion of new destinations with these slots. Net net, the American Airlines merger with US Airways means less destinations served overall when you consider that the combined airline is terminating service to some destinations as part of the slot divestiture required. Those cities are not seeing replacement service which means folks in the DC area will have less total choices to consider. We may ultimately have lower priced service to places where US was the only carrier and now has competition, but I don’t expect that will be the rule in all (or even most) cases.