Southwest Airlines will drop two of its four daily flights from Seattle to Chicago’s Midway Airport and one of four daily flights from Sea-Tac to Denver as part of a “route optimization” plan effective Nov. 2.
The Seattle flight schedule deletions were part of a system-wide schedule readjustment that Southwest announced today.
Under that scheme, Southwest is eliminating 31 underperforming flights but adding 40 new ones.
In the Seattle-Chicago non-stop market, Southwest faces United and American, which both have hubs at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and Alaska, which has a hub at Sea-Tac.
In the Denver market, it faces competition from United and Frontier, who both have a hub in the Mile-High City and Alaska, whose headquarters are in SeaTac.
Southwest is one a few airlines adding to its schedule instead of shrinking it.
The Dallas-based low-cost carrier is cutting back flights where it faces strong competition or weak demand and adding flights where it sees weakened competitors or growing demand.
Southwest is particularly emphasizing new flights at Denver where its two main competitors, United and Frontier, are in financial difficulties. Southwest is adding a net of 20 more daily flights at Denver.
United has just emerged from bankruptcy reorganization and has unsuccessfully sought to merge with Continental and US Airways. The Chicago-headquartered United is grounding dozens of its planes and laying off 950 pilots.
Frontier is in bankruptcy reorganization. It recently announced that it will sell off 11 of its 60 relatively new Airbus aircraft.