Bargain airline Southwest considering Canadian market

Dec 19 2017, 8:01 pm

Southwest Airlines, a budget carrier in the United States, is reportedly considering crossing over into the Canadian market.

The Globe and Mail reports that senior execs at Southwest are “sending strong signals” they are gearing up to land in Canada.

Cities like Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, and Abbotsford are rumoured to be among the 50 new destinations Southwest is considering. Those flights could connect with popular regional hubs, for example from Vancouver or Abbotsford to Las Vegas or Phoenix.

It’s been a big week for Southwest, following the big reveal of their new logo and design. This is on the heels of an even bigger shift for the airline this summer, when they ended over four decades of U.S. domestic-only service, adding international routes to with flights to Jamaica, Aruba, and the Bahamas. They also are taking off with fuller flights than other carriers.

Southwest coming in for a landing in Canada could mean a big shakeup in the nation’s market. “Adding Canadian destinations to the Southwest network would pit Air Canada and WestJet against a much larger rival with deep pockets and a fleet of 700 airplanes – about twice the size of Air Canada’s fleet,” notes the Globe and Mail.

However, it’s not a done deal, and there are drawbacks the Dallas, Texas-based airline is undoubtedly going to have to consider when it comes to operating in Canada. Detractors may include high airport fees, and the nature of seasonal travel patterns.

Southwest is considered a “budget” carrier. They do not assign seats, and their crew have a trademark laid-back style and demeanour. In 2004, the carrier was the focus of a U.S. reality show called “Airline.”

Featured image: Colin Brown/Flickr

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