Southwest Airlines Plans to Serve Chicago (O’Hare) and Houston (Bush Intercontinental)

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Southwest Airlines announced its plans to add service to two new cities early next year. The airline will be adding Chicago (O’Hare) and Houston (Bush Intercontinental) to its network pending government approval, giving United Airlines a run for its money of both of these airports.

Both of these additions are a direct result of increased result of leisure flying over business travel, which the airline hopes to capture additional revenue as they enter new markets. Southwest hasn’t announced specific routes at this time.

Per Southwest,

Southwest Airlines Co. today announced plans to expand its footprint in Chicago and Houston to give more travelers access to Southwest’s iconic Hospitality, low fares, and Customer-friendly policies.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport
Work is underway to add new service from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), alongside existing service from the carrier’s longtime Chicago home, Midway International Airport (MDW). Midway remains one of the busiest airports in Southwest’s network. Since first arriving in Chicago in 1985, Southwest has grown into one of the city’s largest employers with more than 4,800 Chicago-based Employees.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport
As Southwest approaches a commemoration of 50 years of flying, the carrier intends to return to Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), complementing its substantial operation at Houston Hobby (HOU). Intercontinental served as one of three airports where Southwest operated on its first day in operation, June 18, 1971. The carrier moved to Hobby Airport shortly thereafter though it operated service from both airports between 1980 and 2005. Southwest remains a key employer in the City of Houston, providing nearly 4,000 jobs.

What’s interesting about these two new airports is that Southwest Airlines already serves both markets at nearby airports. In fact both Chicago-Midway (MDW) and Houston Hobby Airport (HOU) are major hubs for Southwest presently.

Additionally, Southwest Airlines has previously served Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) back in 2005, so it’s interesting to see the airline will be making its return again.

This news comes after Southwest recently announced Plans to Serve Miami and Palm Springs in addition to Montrose (Telluride), all of which come in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and Southwest looking at ways to capitalize on additional revenue in new markets.

Do you think adding these two new airports to the Southwest Airlines network make sense for the airline in the long run? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

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