Southwest Airlines Co., the low-cost U.S. carrier that made its fortune by flying short hops, said Tuesday it will begin nonstop cross-country flights in September, once again threatening its larger rivals.
The transcontinental service will be between Baltimore/Washington and Los Angeles International Airport, with two daily flights, Chief Executive James Parker said.
The new flights, a departure from Southwest Airlines' short-haul signature, come even as demand for air travel in general remains well below year-ago levels in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In April, major U.S. carriers reported a decline in systemwide traffic of about 12%, reversing the trend of gradual improvement. In March, traffic was down about 9%.