Today, we put out the Southwest and AirTran schedules for sale from August 12 through September 28, 2012. And if you thought some of the previous schedule changes I’ve walked you guys through have been complex…stand by for a NEW standard of complexity! Conversion, network harmonization, market changes, and a smaller schedule design that reflects the normal Customer demand changes coming out of what looks like a very busy Summer—our August and September schedules have it all. Both networks were created using our unique schedule optimization process, so we have lots of territory to cover. Let’s get started!
Starting with the Southwest side, we’re adding new nonstop service in nine roundtrip markets. We’ll begin three weekday roundtrip flights between both Atlanta and Norfolk and between Atlanta and Louisville (note: these are not markets currently served by AirTran), as well as two weekday roundtrip flights between both St. Louis and New York/LaGuardia and between St. Louis and San Antonio. With the additional flights, our daily departure count from St. Louis is up to 90, which I believe is a new record! As we continue the conversion of AirTran service and aircraft to the Southwest brand (after receiving a Single Operating Certificate), we’ll begin new nonstop SWA service that replaces existing service operated by AirTran between:
- Atlanta-Seattle/Tacoma: one daily roundtrip
- Denver-New York/LaGuardia: two daily roundtrips
- Los Angeles-Milwaukee: two daily roundtrips
- Milwaukee-New York/LaGuardia: two daily roundtrips (three additional remain on AirTran)
- Milwaukee-Seattle/Tacoma: one daily roundtrip
Southwest will also add two more flights between Atlanta and Los Angeles, which will replace two AirTran flights. Milestones abound in this schedule, but one is particularly noteworthy: this marks our very first full city conversion, as Southwest will completely assimilate all AirTran service effective with this August ’12 schedule!
Across the rest of the Southwest network, the total number of weekday departures declines from our summer high of 3,422 to 3,250, with a flat aircraft count. While we increase frequency in seven roundtrip markets (in addition to the Atlanta-Los Angeles increase mentioned above), we’ll reduce nonstop service in 88 roundtrip markets from their summertime highs. We eliminate nonstop service in 11 roundtrip markets—some seasonal, some covered by existing AirTran service, and some that are simply no longer profitable in this high-cost environment. The nonstop markets being eliminated are:
- Baltimore/Washington-Seattle/Tacoma (seasonal)
- Ft. Lauderdale-Kansas City (seasonal)
- Houston/Hobby-Seattle/Tacoma (seasonal)
- Indianapolis-Orlando (service remains on AirTran)
- Jacksonville-Tampa Bay
- Milwaukee-Tampa Bay (seasonal—service remains on AirTran)
- San Diego-St. Louis (seasonal)
AirTran’s new August/September 2012 Schedule contains a pretty complex set of changes as well. Just like in the Southwest schedule, AirTran’s new schedule reflects the seasonal softening of Customer demand as well as the need to “free up” aircraft to go through the conversion process, so we’ll decrease systemwide daily departures from 680 on a typical Friday to 568, a reduction of 112. In addition to the market eliminations announced Friday here as well as the AirTran-to-Southwest conversions listed above, we’re adjusting frequencies upwards in seven markets and downwards in 25 others. Seasonal summer nonstop service in the following 11 markets will be cancelled, although connecting service will continue to be available on either AirTran or Southwest:
- Baltimore/Washington-Ft. Myers
- Baltimore/Washington-New Orleans
- Baltimore/Washington-San Francisco
- Columbus-Ft. Lauderdale
- Flint-Tampa Bay
- Ft. Lauderdale-Indianapolis
- Grand Rapids-Orlando
- Grand Rapids-Tampa Bay
- Rochester-Tampa Bay
We’re also “moving some cheese” by eliminating our double-daily roundtrip nonstops between Akron/Canton and Milwaukee and replacing them with two daily Akron/Canton-Chicago-Midway nonstops. To view a comprehensive chart of all the changes for both carriers, visit www.swamedia.com.
Like I told you, we’ve got a lot of changes to our schedule that start in August of 2012, and we’re just inches into the schedule integration process…so we’ve got a long way yet to go on this road. Stay tuned, because we’re planning to open the October schedule in mid-February. Have a great Sunday, everyone—GO NINERS!!!—and happy booking!