Southwest Airlines has made two major announcements today as they’ve reported their second quarter earnings. The first is that the airline will be leaving Newark Liberty International Airport effective November 3, 2019. The airline is blaming poor financial results at EWR, and they’ve determined they can more effectively serve New York through one airport.
Southwest currently flies to/from Newark from Austin, Chicago–Midway, Denver, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, Phoenix–Sky Harbor and St. Louis, however all of these routes will be ended later this fall.
The second route announcement is that they’re planning to continue to expand to Hawaii, with new service from Sacramento and San Diego to the Hawaiian Islands, which will complement their current service from Oakland and San Jose. Additionally, they’ll begin inter-island service to both Lihue, on Kauai, and Hilo, on the Island of Hawaii.
Per Southwest Airlines,
“Based on the extensive delays in returning the MAX to service, we expect that annual 2019 ASMs will now decrease in the 1 to 2 percent range, year-over-year, compared with our original 2019 plan to grow capacity nearly 5 percent, year-over-year. As such, we are taking necessary steps to mitigate damages and optimize our aircraft and resources. We will cease operations at Newark Liberty International Airport and consolidate our New York City presence at New York LaGuardia Airport, effective November 3, 2019.
The financial results at Newark have been below expectations, despite the efforts of our excellent Team at Newark. I am grateful to our wonderful Newark Employees, who are a top priority, and will be given an opportunity to relocate to another station in our system, including LaGuardia Airport, where we are experiencing strong Customer demand. As part of this move, we will offer options and flexibility for Customers to recover planned travel from other area airports.
“We are very pleased with the results from our initial waves of Hawaii service, which began back in March. Demand for Southwest service to, from, and within Hawaii is robust. While the lack of available aircraft, due to the MAX groundings, resulted in expansion delays to Hawaii, we are excited to resume growth plans next month with the first of several intended announcements. We will offer service to the Islands from both Sacramento and San Diego, as well as bring Southwest service to both Lihue, on Kauai, and Hilo, on the Island of Hawaii.
We will provide details of the next phases of Hawaii flying in the coming weeks and months, as we put new flights out for sale. We are also excited to announce our intention to offer more service to Mexico, via Cozumel International Airport, in first quarter 2020, subject to requisite governmental approvals. With Cozumel, we will serve four destinations in Mexico, with year-round service from Houston Hobby.