Southwest continues to plan our schedule and capacity to respond to changing world dynamics. We have teams working through plans for different phases of the expected demand environment ahead, including the anticipated recovery from the current crisis.
Where we are
Roughly 1,500 flights a day are being removed from our operation right now, with cancelations and itinerary changes communicated to our Customers several days ahead of their planned travel with us. This work is being performed, essentially flight-by-flight, assessing how we best can accommodate Customers if their planned flights no longer will operate. It’s very labor-intensive and not the experience we hope for Customers whose plans are changed.
We’ve worked to share changes sooner by previously revising our foundational flight schedule from mid-April through early May. This gives everyone more time with their changes and allows our Network Operations Control in Dallas to focus on our daily operation.
Every Southwest flight schedule is like a puzzle built for the entirety of our unique network of cities, addressing the needs of that travel season. All of the puzzle pieces—demand, fleet, travel patterns, slots, gates, maintenance—and so many other factors all have to come together to build the best schedule. We’ve reached a point in which so many pieces have come out of our plan for Spring 2020, it made the most sense to go back to the proverbial drawing board and work out a new plan that keeps all of our domestic cities open, keeps Cargo flowing, and meets the current demand for air service with an experience more in-line with our Customers’ expectation of Southwest.
New Flight Schedule
As travel demand continues to be very weak for the period between Easter and the traditional start of summer travel, today we’re beginning to push out a new flight schedule for May 3 through June 5. The schedule will take several days to deploy as it brings changes to many Customers holding travel plans with us. In the majority of cases, we’ll be reaching out to share minor changes, such as new flight times, new flight numbers or changes in routing, and we’ll provide additional flexibility under our policies.
Our operational day will be shortened with the removal of many departures previously scheduled before 7 am and after 8 pm
Overall flight activity drops to just more than 2,000 flights a day, down from our previous schedule of approximately 3,700 flights on weekdays, a baseline established by previous schedule reductions related to both COVID-19 and the MAX grounding
Our Schedule Planners restructured activity across our network by more than 50 percent while maintaining service to all our domestic cities, and did so with a preservation of more than 80 percent of the itineraries we offered in the prior schedule, a plan built with essential travel in mind
All but six Southwest cities across the United States will see a decrease in flight activity that we intend to be temporary
The smaller schedule also reflects a previously announced suspension of international service that began on March 23.
We intend to restart nonstop service from Houston Hobby to both Cancun and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos on Thursday, May 21, and plan to operate both of those markets once daily roundtrip.
We also intend to fly from Baltimore/Washington to Montego Bay, Jamaica, also on Thursday, May 21, to reestablish nonstop service between the US and the Caribbean country.
The remainder of our international routes remain suspended at least through June 5, 2020. As soon as we’re able, we’ll share market-specific details about the resumption of service subject to relaxed restrictions.
The service pattern we established to serve the Hawaiian Islands beginning April 5 will continue through at least June 5, with our trans-Pacific service diminished to twice daily flying between Oakland and Honolulu, and interisland service cut roughly in-half on service between Honolulu and Kauai, Maui, and the Island of Hawaii.
We intend to reconnect Maui and the mainland with a westbound flight on Thursday, May 21, reinstating once-daily nonstop service roundtrip between Oakland and Kahului, Maui.
After a brief hiatus in April, we also intend to bring back a nonstop route between Kona and Kahului.
We continue to coordinate with the State of Hawaii and intend to resume our previous level of flying subject to a relaxation of restrictions.
We hope our desire to serve you with unwavering Hospitality shines through as we share this modification our published schedule with necessary and temporary changes. We’ll see you onboard soon!