Southwest Airlines is expanding its service for the summer throughout California and the Pacific Northwest and will increase service throughout the Hawaiian islands, the company announced Tuesday.
The carrier especially is focused on San Diego and San Jose routes to “help capture business travel that is going across the state,” according to a Southwest spokesperson. Beginning June 5, the carrier will offer as many as 20 daily flights each way between San Diego and each Sacramento and San Jose. Service between San Diego and Oakland will increase to as many as 14 daily flights each way.
New once-daily nonstop service between Sacramento and Santa Barbara also will commence June 5, as will new once-daily nonstop service between San Jose and Eugene, Ore., according to Southwest.
Throughout the summer, the carrier will increase daily service between San Jose and Las Vegas to as many as 13 flights each way, and between San Jose and Long Beach, Calif., on weekdays as many as four times each way. It will increase daily service between San Jose and Orange County/Santa Ana on weekdays to as many as 10 times each way.
Weekday service between San Jose and both Boise and Spokane on June 5 will increase to twice daily, and between San Jose and both Portland, Ore., and Seattle/Tacoma to six times daily.
The carrier also is adding interisland service among the Hawaiian islands at more times of the day in order to accommodate day trips for both business and leisure travelers.
“We wanted to give day-trip ability, especially as hotel prices are really high,” Southwest VP of Southwest Business Dave Harvey told BTN. “There is a lot of business traffic going to the islands every single day, and they’re not going to be put up in a hotel. They need to leave early in that 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. window, get in a full day’s work, and come back after 5. We’re excited to offer that to the marketplace.”
Services are set to increase first on June 5, then again on Sept. 5 with connections between Honolulu and Kahului, Maui; Honolulu and both Hilo and Kona on the island of Hawaii; Honolulu and Lihue, Kauai; and Kona and Kahului.
Harvey also shared that the Covid-19 omicron outbreak set back the airline’s business travel recovery, which had been at 50 percent of 2019 levels in December, but then fell in the beginning of the year. In March, however, business travel for the carrier was at 60 percent of 2019 levels.
“We saw nice traction after Valentine’s Day and after Presidents’ Day,” Harvey added. “We’ve seen a couple big announcements, with confirmation from Google and other companies, that the first week of April would be big for office reopenings, All that ties to an openness in their travel programs for allowing business travelers to get back on the road. The other trend we’ve talked about previously is small to midsize meetings, where a lot of teams, organizations, have gone two years without getting in the same room with each other. We’ve seen a nice healthy uptick in that type of activity.”