Southwest Airlines today filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to extend the carrier’s low fare reach into México markets with new international service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Southwest is proposing new service to México: twice-daily flights to Cancún and San José del Cabo/Los Cabos, and once daily service to Puerto Vallarta to begin Nov. 6, 2016, contingent upon route authority approval by the end of this month. Shortly following approval, the carrier intends to offer the flights for sale on Southwest.com.
The application requests extra-bilateral authority from the DOT to allow the carrier to sell and serve the new markets during an interim period while the governments of the United States and México take final diplomatic steps to bring the pending liberalized Aviation Agreement between the two nations into force.
“We’ve committed aircraft resources to serve these important trans-border routes at the start of the winter season and are asking that Southwest be allowed to add its low-fare, bags fly free, no change fee* competition and legendary Customer Service to benefit consumers in the U.S. and México,” said Gary Kelly, Chairman, President & CEO of Southwest Airlines.
According to projections by the Campbell-Hill Aviation Group, an economic analysis firm retained by Southwest, Southwest’s new competition in the three LAX – México markets could reduce fares more than 20 percent below average fares on the routes today, increase total traffic on the routes by more than 500,000 passengers each year, and save passengers $50 million annually in reduced fares – another example of the Southwest Effect of lowering fares and increasing traffic in international markets. Click here to download the carrier’s application.
Southwest currently offers daily service from LAX to Liberia, Costa Rica and serves four points in México from eight other U.S. cities. Southwest continues to plan for 2016 year-over-year available seat mile (ASM) growth in the 5-6 percent range.
*Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer bags fly free® to everyone (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply; some airlines might allow free checked bags on select routes or in qualified circumstances), and there are never reservation change fees, though fare differences might apply.