Categorized | Airlines

Southwest CEO: Las Vegas routes to grow in AirTran merger…

Posted on 09 August 2011

 

Southwest Airlines planes are shown at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Feb. 28, 2011.
 

Southwest may look to connect Las Vegas to many of the new destinations the airline is adding through its acquisition of AirTran. That’s according to Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, who made the comments in a wide-ranging Q&A with the VegasInc.com section of the Las Vegas Sun.

 

Here’s how Kelly answered VegasInc.com’s question: “What will the acquisition of AirTran bring to Las Vegas?”

I hope it brings a lot. Las Vegas is such a popular destination in the United States, certainly a top destination. We’ll be adding somewhere around 35 new Southwest destinations (from Las Vegas), plus or minus, with the AirTran acquisition. Obviously, it’s still early in that integration process. All of those new destinations for Southwest will potentially be new nonstops for Las Vegas. Clearly, we won’t be adding 35 new nonstops, but my point is that there are a lot of new markets we’ll be adding, Atlanta in particular. We’ll give a good hard look at whether we want to have nonstop service into Las Vegas for all of those. Even if we don’t have nonstop service, you’ll see more traffic flowing in and out of Las Vegas if only on a one-stop basis. Anytime we can add destinations to the Southwest route map, that will be very good for Las Vegas.

 

Kelly also discussed the carrier’s plans for its 737-800 jets, which will be the largest in its fleet once it begins to take delivery of them in 2012.

 

Speaking about the likelihood of those jets flying through Southwest’s Las Vegas base, Kelly told VegasInc.com:

Las Vegas, especially when you think about the East Coast or if we ever serve Hawaii or Alaska or Mexico — those clear long-distance markets — that’s what the 800 is best suited for.

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