At the distinct risk of turning the Southwest Airlines blog in to a BILL-log (three blog posts from me in two weeks is bordering on overkill, I realize!)...there is news to share! Southwest is returning to San Francisco International Airport early this fall! This news was announced last night (February 😎 by our CEO, Gary Kelly, at the Message to The Field in Oakland. We've been working on this for a while now, and we just couldn't be more excited to bring Canyon Blue back to the west side of the Bay.
Why go back to an airport we discontinued? Easy answer. Things change, and Southwest responds to changes! If you need proof of that, look at Denver, another city Southwest served, then discontinued--then started again, in response to changing conditions. In Denver's case, it was dramatically improved costs at the new airport, in combination with explosive growth in the local market. In SFO's case, costs again play a central role--the good people that run San Francisco International have done a great job in mitigating costs and keeping them low, and everyone knows costs are a key focus at Southwest. But it's not just about the costs this time--other good things have happened to make us reconsider serving SFO. Operationally, the airport is in significantly better shape than it was in 2001, which means we'll be able to run a much "cleaner" and more ontime operation than we did then. BART now goes directly into the airport, which means West Bay residents and visitors can get right into the heart of the City by the Bay in just "one seat." We now have the ability to grow at SFO, whereas before we no way to expand beyond our 14 daily flights. And, the Bay Area's population just continues to grow by leaps and bounds--all of which makes our return to the busiest airport in the region a no-brainer.
What does this do to our service at Oakland and San Jose? Three word answer: makes them stronger. By serving the Bay Area more completely, we make Southwest more convenient to Customers flying to or from the area. As California's largest intrastate carrier, offering more options for the traveling public just makes our entire Bay Area franchise even more viable. Now this is nothing new--Southwest has always persued a "serve the region" strategy in population-dense areas where airports aren't restricted. Just look at Southern California--we serve four airports just in the Los Angeles area alone. In the DC area we're now in both BWI and Dulles. And in South Florida we're in both Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood and West Palm Beach.
I can't tell you where we'll be flying from SFO just yet, but trust me, you're going to like this. We're BACK, West Bay! And a quick trivia question: Am I the only person on this planet that remembers the T.V. series. "San Francisco International Airport" from the '70s, starring Lloyd Bridges? Heck, they're remaking everything these days--maybe there could be a reality T.V. show based on Southwest Airlines and our awesome Employees working at a major international airport!
On second thought...never mind about the T.V. show. Been there, done that.
Happy Valentines Day, everyone!
As Bill mentions, we do sometimes announce news at a Message To The Field. For more information on the Messages, read James's post immediately below and Shelley's post about the preparations for the Message season.