Southwest Airlines Makes Flight Schedule Adjustments For June

Southwest Airlines made further adjustments to its schedule through June 27, a company executive said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Previously, Southwest Airlines Co. had made adjustments to its schedule through June 5. The new schedule adjustments come during what is normally the start of the busy summer travel season. Southwest is cutting nearly 50 percent of flights, roughly 2,000 a day, from its network in June.

Southwest is the second largest carrier at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport behind American Airlines.

“We’re building plans that reflect forecasts both for diminished demand and potential travel in late spring and summer,” Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Watterson said in the blog post.

Watterson added the carrier is maintaining service to all its domestic cities and preserving more than 80 percent of itineraries offered in its previous schedule. As a condition of applying for payroll grants under the CARES Act stimulus package, carriers were required to maintain service to the domestic airports they service.

Southwest, like other carriers, is experiencing dramatic falls in customer demand. Despite previous capacity slashes, the airline is experiencing low load factors on remaining flights and even had a day last week where it flew 56 flights with no passengers onboard, according to an internal memo.

The vast majority, around 96 percent, of Southwest’s network is domestic, though the carrier has some flying to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.

Despite the drop in travel demand, Southwest is aiming to ramp up flying to some international destinations in early June.

The company will launch nonstop service to Cancun from Baltimore and Denver on June 7, and service between Denver and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos on the same day.

For the Caribbean, Southwest intends on reestablishing service between Baltimore and Nassau, Bahamas; Orlando and Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Tampa and Havana, Cuba, on June 7.

The rest of the carrier’s international network will remain suspended through June 27, Watterson said.

Southwest was originally hesitant to cut flights to Hawaii, but guidance from the state’s governor asking people not to visit the islands left Southwest with little choice.

Between Hawaii and the contiguous United States, Southwest is currently only flying between Oakland and Honolulu.

In June, Southwest plans to reintroduce some Hawaii flying from other California cities. Service will be reintroduced between Honolulu and Sacramento and San Jose on June 7.

Additionally, Southwest intends to start service from a fourth California gateway. Over a year ago, Southwest said it planned to eventually fly to Hawaii from San Diego. It will start service between San Diego and Honolulu on June 7.

“We continue to coordinate with the State of Hawaii and intend to resume our previous level of flying subject to a relaxation of restrictions,” Watterson said.

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