Southwest Airlines announces international flights

DALLAS — Southwest Airlines Co. is expanding beyond the continental United States with flights to the Caribbean beginning July 1.

The airline began selling tickets on Monday for flights to Aruba, the Bahamas and Jamaica from Atlanta, Baltimore and Orlando. Those routes are currently flown by AirTran Airways, which Southwest bought in 2011.

Southwest carries more passengers in the United States than any airline, but among the largest U.S. carriers, it alone doesn’t fly beyond the nation’s borders. Southwest has been talking about going international for years, but it’s been held back by technological limits to its reservations system, which it has been upgrading.

Later this year, Southwest is expected to take over four AirTran destinations in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. It eventually plans to add international flights from Houston, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and possibly other U.S. cities, but executives said that they probably won’t announce details about those routes until 2015 or later.

AirTran’s international flights account for less than 1 percent of the parent company’s passenger-carrying capacity, and that won’t change with Monday’s announcement about some flights switching from AirTran planes to Southwest ones. Chief commercial officer Bob Jordan said, however, that international flying is “a big part of our growth strategy” and could someday involve 70 to 80 Southwest aircraft.

Dallas-based Southwest plans to phase out the AirTran brand by year end.

Shares of Southwest slipped 13 cents to $20.70 in afternoon trading. Most other airline stocks were also lower on a rise in oil prices.

More in Herald Business Journal

Voters are on the sidelines as the port fills a vacant seat

Troy McClelland resigned from the Port of Everett commission too late for an election before 2019.

Don’t rely just on productivity measurements to value a worker

The controversies swirling around the productivity data at the national level are… Continue reading

In space capsules today, little room but big improvement

Boeing and SpaceX are relying on a tried-and-true design as they each develop new spacecraft.

First Boeing KC-46 delivery to Air Force slides into 2018

Certification milestones have been missed, and problems have emerged in flight test, a source says.

SEC reveals hack, possibility info was used for trading

The regulatory agency said the hack was discovered last year.

Newest must-try eatery: 85°C Bakery Cafe in Lynnwood

The popular bakery, part of a Taiwan-based chain, is already drawing out-the-door crowds.

Snohomish County tax liens

Tax liens are gathered from online public records filed with the Snohomish… Continue reading

Trudeau: Canada could stop dealing with Boeing over dispute

Boeing had petitioned the U.S. to investigate government subsidies of Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft.

Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy but keeps stores open

Retailers of all kinds are struggling. Toys ‘R’ Us is among at least 18 other bankruptcies this year.

Most Read