Southwest to offer new Boston service


Southwest Airlines continues to fly into new territory, announcing new service to Boston Logan Airport, which will begin later this year.

The airline already announced new flights to LaGuardia Airport in New York and Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. The additions to Southwest’s network come despite cutbacks in overall flights due to a decline in demand for travel. Southwest is shrinking by more than 4 percent this year.

“Today, more than ever, it’s imperative that we make wise decisions on how and where we utilize our aircraft, and we know that Boston Logan Airport is a smart choice for Southwest,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chief executive, in a news release. “I am confident that Logan will be a great addition to our already strong presence in the New England area.”

Southwest has served nearby Providence since 1996, and Manchester Boston Regional Airport since 1998. But Logan marks the first time the low-fare airline will compete directly with rivals like American Airlines and United Airlines at Boston’s largest airport.

The move is likely a continued attempt to woo business travelers, who prefer the convenience of flights at Logan. Southwest has been increasingly working to attract corporate fliers, who tend to buy more expensive fares and travel more frequently than leisure travelers.

The airline rolled out a new fare class last year dubbed “Business select,” which guarantees early boarding and provides a free drink. Southwest is also upgrading its frequent flier program to make it more attractive to business travelers, and for the first time has been offering discounts on corporate accounts.