Air Travel News
Briefs: Southwest will fly to San Juan; Spirit grows as majors shrink
In U.S. airline news, Southwest Airlines announced its first route outside the continental U.S.; Spirit Airlines’ third quarter results show substantial growth in capacity and revenue even as major airlines cut back; and Delta changes a policy for interline baggage.
• Southwest Airlines said it will begin its first-ever service outside the continental United States next spring. The airline announced plans to start flying to San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 14, 2013, with three daily flights from Orlando and one from Tampa Bay. Southwest’s AirTran subsidiary will continue to fly to SJU from Baltimore/Washington, Ft. Lauderdale and Atlanta, the company said. “Southwest will soon determine the best time to convert the remaining AirTran flying to Southwest as part of the ongoing integration to eventually become one airline flying under the Southwest brand,” a spokesman said.
• Even as major airlines continue to shrink their overall capacity to more closely match available seats to passenger demand, fledgling low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines continues to grow at a rapid pace—and to show a healthy bottom line. Spirit said in its quarterly results that it is “on target to achieve our goal of growing capacity 15 to 20 percent” in 2012. The company also reported an 18.6 percent increase in quarterly operating revenues, and said its average non-ticket revenue (i.e., ancillary fees) per passenger flight segment was up 11.5 percent to $49.80.
• Delta is advising passengers via its website that starting January 15, 2013, it will no longer offer to provide interline transfers for baggage when the customer holds two separate tickets for his journey. Instead, passengers holding a separate ticket on another airline after their Delta segment will have to pick up and re-check their baggage at the connecting point. US Airways adopted a similar policy last summer.