Southwest Goes International

Southwest Goes International

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly recently expressed the airlines’ plans to expand internationally by 2009. Speaking to an airport business group in Baltimore and reported in the Baltimore Sun, Kelly said, “We are ready to grow.” Southwest has plans to expand its current partnership with ATA Airlines to offer service to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. “We promise to do that,” he said. And after the airline upgrades its computer system to allow multiple codeshare partnerships, customers of Southwest can fly to Europe. Kelly also mentioned that the airline is studying whether to abandon or modify its open-seating policy. The airline has recently experimented with assigned seating in San Diego. Other Southwest news includes cutting 39 flights, such as longhaul flights between Baltimore and Los Angeles, and adding 45 flights including one additional daily flight between Love Field and New Orleans, Albuquerque, Birmingham, Ala. and Houston (Hobby) in November. The airline also promises to upgrade its Rapid Rewards program to try to draw more passengers. “We want to make it more appealing to both our business and leisure passengers” said Kelly, quoted in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Look for Southwest to launch an advertising campaign aimed at business travelers in the near future.

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