After Making Love Field Boom, Southwest Airlines Expects the Same Excitement in Hawaii

Just over four years ago, when the Wright Amendment ended, Southwest Airlines turned Love Field into a boom town.The Dallas-based carrier soon added 17 destinations, along with some great bargains on airfares. It promoted the expansion heavily, and within a year, monthly passenger traffic was up over 87 percent at Love.The much-ballyhooed Southwest effect, in which Southwest lowers fares and stimulates traffic, again lived up to its billing.That experience is worth recalling now as Southwest prepares to add service to Hawaii, a destination long coveted by customers and employees.The passenger numbers in the Hawaiian Islands probably won’t come close to doubling, as they did at Love. But there’s a similar excitement about the new entrant -- and for a similar reason.“We had an enormous customer base in Dallas that had a pent-up demand” for long-haul service, said Andrew Watterson, chief revenue officer.From Love, Southwest could not fly beyond a handful of nearby states, not until the Wright Amendment expired. Southwest has millions more customers in California, and for many of them, Hawaii has been a big gap in its network, Watterson said.  Continue reading...

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