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Southwest Airlines to Add Flights

The carrier will boost nonstop service from Orange County and from Las Vegas.

May 15, 2003|From Bloomberg News

Southwest Airlines Co., the only major U.S. carrier to stay profitable since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, plans to increase flights starting in August as sales pick up.

"The revenue improvement has been very gradual," Chief Executive James Parker said after the company's annual shareholders meeting. He reiterated that the low-fare carrier expects a profit this quarter and for the full year, without giving figures.

The airline's flight plans include more nonstop service from Orange County, starting Aug. 10, and adding new nonstop flights from Las Vegas in September and October. The moves will increase daily flights to 2,804 from 2,780, or about 1%.

Dallas-based Southwest hasn't had a quarterly loss in more than 10 years. Rival U.S. airlines lost $11.3 billion last year and are poised for a third straight year of losses in 2003. A slump in air travel in the slow economy and since the 2001 attacks has led airlines to cut ticket prices to 15-year lows to revive demand.

Southwest shares fell 15 cents to $15.78 on the New York Stock Exchange. They have risen 14% this year.

The airline will increase nonstop flights on Aug. 10 between Orange County and Las Vegas, Phoenix and Sacramento. It plans new nonstop flights starting Sept. 10 between Las Vegas and Manchester, N.H.; Hartford, Conn.; and Detroit. It also plans new flights between Las Vegas and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., beginning Oct. 5.

In September, Southwest will add flights between Las Vegas and Reno, Chicago and Tucson, Ariz., as well as between San Diego and Chicago, San Diego and Sacramento, and Islip, N.Y., and Nashville. Southwest also will add flights from Baltimore, including an additional transcontinental route to San Diego.

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