Today Southwest Airlines opened our April 2016 schedule, and there are LOTS of changes in this one, both from a schedule standpoint and from a construction standpoint. Let’s discuss!
Coming out of the traffic peaks of spring break season, the April Base remains relatively the same size, coming in at 3,812 departures each Monday (totals on other days might be slightly different).
St. Louis picks up four new markets (Des Moines, Pittsburgh, and Wichita permanent, and Seattle/Tacoma returns seasonally to become year-round) winding up very close to 100 weekday departures.
Chicago gains three new nonstop destinations, all permanent—Dayton, Flint, and Grand Rapids.
Phoenix is also picking up a new daily flight to Wichita, Kansas. Newark/Liberty picks up new nonstop to Vegas and Orlando and we’ll challenge I-85 by starting Atlanta-Greenville/Spartanburg service three times a day! (Insert everyone’s favorite B-52’s song here!)
And seasonally we’re bringing back Washington/Dulles-San Diego and Albuquerque-Portland, OR nonstops.
Much of this comes as part of a restructuring of a few small Stations. We also seasonally say goodbye to a number of leisure markets (Spring Break comes but once a year!). We also change frequency in almost 100 other markets across our network! For a total list of the details, click here!
The April 2016 schedule is significant for another reason—it’s the first schedule to be generated completely from our new third-generation schedule optimizer, SKYMax. Our previous optimizer iterations, while awesome, operated primarily on the premise of meeting parameters and evenly spacing flights in markets. SKYMax takes this concept up to a whole level. SKYMax schedules to actual time-of-day Customer demand while still meeting constraints, which lets us say “Yes! We have seats when you want to travel!” more often! You will see some differences, however. Based on the time-of-day demand, you’re going to notice flights in some markets a bit more “bunched up” during peak demand times, and see longer gaps during times when our Customers have said they really don’t want to fly. It’s a VERY exciting development and one that’s been in the works for a while!
This schedule has a LOT of intricate and cool stuff in it, so if you have questions, please let me know. If not—have a GREAT week, and have a fantastic Halloween!